The CIC and Muslim Student Association hosted a panel about modest fashion on Friday night. The event was titled “Making the Hijab Mainstream” and featured a pioneer in the modest fashion industry, Summer Albarcha.
The panel was led by senior in the College of Arts and Sciences Yasmine Jakmouj. She is also the president of MSA.
Albarcha and Jakmouj discussed the coexistence of fashion and the Muslim religion.
They spoke about how women who wear hijabs are represented in the media. They said they find it can be difficult to celebrate a woman who wears a hijab without seeming like it’s her religion on display.
In 2012, Albarcha started a fashion blog, Hipster Hijabis, on Instagram. Since then, she has rebranded to her full name and moved off of Instagram and onto a blog site. She also creates YouTube videos and has 576,000 followers on Instagram.
Albarcha graduated from Saint Louis University in 2018, where she studied business. Since then, she has started a career for herself. She does brand deals with big names in the fashion and beauty industry as well as travels around the world to attend fashion week events.
When planning the panel, Jakmouj said she “reached out to nine different influencers, and Summer ended up being the only one to be able to do it.
“Which is wild since she was like the most famous person I emailed,” Jakmouj said.
Albarcha said, “it has been difficult to navigate the fashion industry while stuck at home.”
For Albarcha, modest fashion has become much easier over time. In the past, the fashion industry wasn’t as globalized as it is today. Albarcha would have to layer on her own because it was difficult to find the clothing she needed.
The fashion industry has grown immensely in the past decade to the point where nearly everything is at our fingertips. She said her style has been taken to a new level with the recent availability of a wider variety of clothing styles.
With the rise of wider clothing avail- ability has come the rise of women who wear hijabs being represented in the public. Many models wear hijabs, and they are becoming more common on high-end fashion runways.
Over Albarcha’s time fashion blogging, “there have been a lot of victories.” There are fewer barriers to entry for modest dressers today and that is something to be celebrated.
Junior in the College of Arts and Sciences Kerry Munyon attended the event and said, “I decided to attend [the event] because I wanted to know more about the fashion industry from the perspective of a Muslim woman.”
“I think it’s important to go outside of the culture circles we grew up in to get a better understanding of how life is for others,” she said.
In the end, the panel was a success and Jakmouj said, “I’m just so happy with how it went.”