Dress and Fashion

Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood

in Islamic Studies

ISBN: 9780195390155
Published online May 2011 | | DOI:
Dress and Fashion


The subject of dress is concerned with what people do with their bodies and what they wear in order to provide information about themselves. Dress is affected by a number of factors, including age, gender, social and economic condition, matrimonial status, occupation, religion, color and object symbolism, iconography and art history, as well as communications, transportation, and economics at local, national, and international levels. Dress is used by people to differentiate between groups who belong and those who do not, and within a particular group it is used to indicate the social hierarchy. These, plus many more factors, play a role in the concept of dress and identity. Despite the importance of dress, there are comparatively few books and articles about Islamic dress and fashion, in comparison to, for example, the fields of illustrated manuscripts, carpets, or theological studies. There is also a natural tendency to link together textiles and dress, but while closely related, they should not be regarded as synonymous. Studies about Islamic dress and fashion tend to be dominated by several specific subjects, namely, tiraz textiles from the medieval period, the art historical role of (woven) textiles, gold and silver jewelry, and modern-day (female) hijab (or Islamically correct) clothing. The latter is usually interpreted as “veils and veiling,” but in fact it covers a much wider range of garments. For the last few decades or so, other subjects have been receiving more attention: for instance, the wide variety of regional dress within the Islamic world, the role of Jewish producers for the Muslim and Christian markets within the Islamic world, the concept of male hijab, and the future role of fashion designers in presenting an Islamic fashion scene. Certain subjects have been deliberately excluded from this bibliography, namely, the textiles and dress of Muslim groups outside of central and southwest Asia and North Africa. This was a deliberate choice based on geography rather than cultural or religious backgrounds. In addition, it was decided to concentrate on Muslim groups, rather than, for example, Christian, Jewish, or Zoroastrians.

Article.  12317 words. 

Subjects: Islam

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