Based in the UAE, Hafsa Lodi is a fashion and lifestyle journalist who has always been inspired by the intersection of the East and West in fashion. Stemming from her interest in how faith can influence fashion, and how modest fashion is not only relevant to Muslims, Hafsa recently published her first book “Modesty: A Fashion Paradox”, at the 12th Emirates Airline Festival of Literature.
“When we first started noticing a global modest fashion movement five years ago, I reported a lot about the new modest designers in the industry and the hijabi models that were walking international catwalks. To be honest, I hadn’t thought about writing an entire book dedicated to modest fashion, until I was approached by UK-based Indie publishing house Neem Tree Press, with the opportunity. Of course, I accepted right away – to write a book about a culturally-rooted, mainstream movement that combined fashion with faith and feminism was a challenge I welcomed wholeheartedly, even though I was four months pregnant at the time,” said Hafsa.
In her book, Hafsa explains that there are different levels of “modesty” and that modest fashion does not always include the covering of one’s hair.
“Muslim women have been painted in a broad, all-encompassing stroke by the majority of Western media, as oppressed victims of a tyrannical culture and “backwards” religion, always covered head-to-toe in tent-like attire. I wanted to show that through this modest fashion movement that has spread like wildfire globally, Muslim women have fought back against that stereotype and are showing that you can be pious and driven by faith while still looking highly fashionable, dressed in the latest designer trends,” she explained.
At this unprecedented time, Hafsa stressed that any support that consumers can offer, will help keep the regional design scene alive and thriving. She herself has been affected by the social distancing measures, as her book tours have been cancelled, forcing her to rely on her own social media to spread awareness on her newly-released book.
“For fashion enthusiasts, I know being cooped up at home may call for retail therapy, especially this close to Ramadan, so I’d like to encourage women in the Middle East to support local, homegrown brands who are struggling during this difficult period,” concluded Hafsa.