From Islamic Dress and Islamic Fashion to Cool Islam: An Exploration of Muslim Youth Hybrid Identities in the West

By Imène Ajala.

Published by The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Cultural Studies

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Debates regarding visible Islamic practices in the West and particularly in European secular spaces reflect the tensions related to religious expression in the public sphere. Assumptions are often being made on the meaning of these practices leading to speculations on the willingness of young Muslims to be fully part of society at large. However, Islam and its practices are not immune to global cultural, individualist, consumerist, and neoliberal trends. This paper thus explores the new dynamics characterizing Islamic dress so as to reveal that far from separating themselves from society at large, young Muslims in the West adopt Islamic forms of Islamic dress that are reinterpreted in light of these consumerists, cultural, and neoliberal trends. Therefore, young Muslims do not showcase a closed identity but on the contrary, display different layers of identity translated into hybrid dressing practices. The paper focuses on two case studies of hybrid expressions: modest fashion and Muslim streetwear.

Keywords: Islam, Youth, Identity, Modest Fashion, Hybridity, Consumerism

The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Cultural Studies, Volume 12, Issue 3, September 2017, pp.1-11. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 774.753KB).

Dr. Imène Ajala

Assistant Professor in International Studies, Arts and Humanities, University of Wollongong in Dubai, Dubai, United Arab Emirates