The burqa is one of the most controversial outfits today. Countries from France to China have imposed some form of restrictions on the legality of wearing the burqa in public. However, designer Richard Quinn recently debuted his work at London Fashion Week, with models walking the runway in outfits that seem to be heavily inspired by the burqa and jilbab.
While I don’t think Quinn was deliberately trying to insult Muslim women, I do think the increasing popularity of headscarves, balaclavas, and outfits like Quinn’s, highlight the glaring double standards and Islamophobia of today’s world.
Balaclavas, headscarves, and jilbab-esque outfits have been increasing in popularity by the day, but this acceptance never extends to the hijab of Muslim women. As modest fashion becomes more and more popular on the runway, the endless hate Muslim women face daily has not abated.
The clothing choices of Muslim women have been under intense scrutiny for many years. Countries like France and Belgium have completely banned the hijab in all public institutions, and recent protests against the hijab in India have made headlines. Women in these countries face many barriers to following their beliefs and are often harassed and discriminated against. However, the growing presence that burqa-esque outfits and balaclavas have in the world of online and runway fashion is proof that there is clear hypocrisy.
• Fashion Shows & Headscarves: What’s Your Stance?
In an astounding display of a tone-deaf social media blunder, Vogue France recently posted a picture of actress Julia Fox with a headscarf covering her hair to their Instagram, along with the caption: “Yes to the headscarf!” Another photo in the post was of rapper Kanye West wearing a balaclava that left only his eyes exposed.
And here is the catch: France has some of the strictest anti-hijab laws in the world, with the face veil and headscarf banned in all public buildings and institutions. Vogue only says “yes to the headscarf” when Julia Fox is wearing it — not when their own French citizens want to.
The hypocrisy of runway fashion clearly illustrates that modest clothing was never the issue; the Muslim women wearing it were.