Bold and Beautiful: A Look at the 2016 Muslimah Fashion Show


Fordham students of MSA put on a fashion show in the Atrium on April 18, 2016. (PHOTO COURTESY OF JAHEEN HAQUE)


With a mixture of bold textures, bright colors and high fashion, the Muslim Student Association took the Fordham community by storm. MSA hosted their 2016 Muslimah Fashion Show on Monday, April 18th as the kickoff event to celebrate Muslim women here and around the globe. Titling this week ‘Muslimah Appreciation Week,’ their goal is to highlight the many contributions of strong Muslim women to the community, society, and the world.

The show was a welcome mix of modern and traditional, backed by the stylish minds of hijabis – or, women who wear hijabs – on campus. With two walkthroughs displaying a variety of outfits, the show received positive feedback from the audience members. Those able to attend, were able to experience the beauty, grace, and empowerment of both Muslim women and others who wanted to aid in their endeavor by showing their support and love. Syeda Sanjida, FCLC ‘16 , and president of MSA spoke happily about the outcome of the show, “the purpose of the event in general was to represent all the different representations of Muslim women in the world … we’re doing all things surrounding Muslim women and all things appreciating them.”

The first walkthrough on the runway had multiple models walking in traditional Muslimah attire, with flowing fabrics and elegant colors. A mixture of styles from different countries helped to further diversify, and simultaneously unify, the image of not just different women from different places, but instead the image of a powerful, strong, and confident Muslimah. But the beauty wasn’t just in the fashion.
Thania Hussain, FCLC ‘19 , raved about her experience as a model in the show, being able to walk down the runway and feel confident in both her culture, her femininity, and status as a Fordham student. “I just feel like events like this always brings us as Fordham, as a family, together,” Hussain stated, “and events like this can definitely make [students] feel like they have a place.”

The second walkthrough was a modern and edgy take to the Muslimah style, incorporating traditional pieces with a contemporary flair. By mixing the old and the new, they were able to break through any lingering doubts about the ability for hijabis or Muslim women to feel fashionable or chic. The models were the image of confidence, and seeing girls appreciate cultures apart from their own was a huge point of success for MSA’s executive board.

“We had some girls who never wore the hijab before and they felt confident when they wore it too, and they were able to break that stereotype that just people who wear hijabs can’t be fashionable or pretty … we like it when people share that experience because that’s how we feel every day,” Hussain said.

Sanjida also spoke about a larger issue that she hoped the show would spread wisdom about, which is the generalization of and bias against Muslim women and hijabis. “We were trying to dispel stereotypes I guess, because you have this image of what a Muslim woman looks like based on the news and whatnot,” she stated. The show tried to highlight the prejudices many Muslim women experience on a day to day basis largely due to misunderstandings that many people have about the choices they make. The idea of enlightening others and showing them how to appreciate the hijab and traditional pieces in the sense of fashion was at the heart of the show, and their efforts to do so were praised with standing ovations. Sanjida is proud to say that “to do things like this where everyone is appreciating the fashion behind it and they love it and it’s something new but also beautiful to them, it really strengthens my own confidence.” And with the introduction of more events like these in the Fordham community, their hope is to not only strengthen confidence in themselves or in one another, but in those with open minds who are willing to learn.