Contemporary Style Cultures
Duke University Press 2015
New Books in Gender StudiesNew Books in Islamic StudiesNew Books in Middle Eastern StudiesNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books in ReligionNew Books in Religion & FaithNew Books in World AffairsNew Books Network November 15, 2017 Nadirah Mansour
Fashion is often dismissed as trivial, but Reina Lewis‘s Muslim Fashion: Contemporary Style Cultures (Duke University Press, 2015) takes both it and what Muslims specifically wear and devotes and 300+ eye-opening pages to it. Defining it as, not a history, but “a history of several lived presents.” Largely focusing on Turkey, Western Europe, and North America, Lewis walks us through the landscape of Muslim fashion, incorporating marketing, global trends, social media, and the perspectives of those who wear the clothes themselves, Muslim women. We see how religion and identity shape what people wear, how they don’t necessarily have to even fit within the set of decisions that one makes when picking ones clothes, and how functionality is also key. Ultimately, Muslim Fashion is about the role of personal choice in how Muslim women express themselves through dress and will go far in challenging assumptions about Muslims and specifically, young Muslim women.
NA Mansour is a graduate student at Princeton University’s Department of Near Eastern Studies working on the global intellectual history of the Arabic-language press. She tweets @NAMansour26 and produces another Middle-East and North Africa-related podcast: Reintroducing.