This was the most moving show I attended, and the post I was most looking forward to writing. I was unfamiliar with the designer, so I was not expecting a collection of Muslim hijabs to float down the runway. Initially I found it ironic that a former orthodox Yeshiva girl wound up in the front row of this show. Then I applied what I was looking at to my world, and I was overcome with emotion. If a stifled Hasidic woman from a super repressive and restrictive environment were to come out with her own clothing line at NYFW, I'd be doing backflips down the runway. It is irrelevant that I can't actually do a backflip.
Women in general have to fight harder for our voices to be heard. Ultra religious women have it waaaayyyyy harder. Without knowing anything about Vivi Zubedi, I felt so strongly that she must be a very special person, one who is so clear and strong in her vision. She wears a hijab as well, and nowhere does it say women cannot combine their alliance to their religious beliefs with fashion, creativity, and beauty. GOOD. FOR. HER. 👏🏻. Any religious person that would ever criticize something like this as "immodest" is full of shit. That a woman is only godly if she stays out of the line of vision?? Really?? That implies that God created half the population to hide themselves and disappear, going to make babies and dinner quietly in the corner. Only being seen if men so generously choose to glance at them🙄🖕🏼. If life is beautiful, and God is beautiful, then we are not only allowed but obligated to live in a state of beauty.
What Vivi did was bring beauty and religion together. Celebrating women that celebrate God. The message and meaning kept coming in waves, and the designs were so detailed that it was clear this woman poured every ounce of her being into making them. There were a lot of designs, the collection clearly took a tremendous amount of time and intention. With her talent for mixing textures, accessories, patterns, and embellishments, Vivi made the hijab interesting, beautiful, feminine, and fashionable. These are not garments intended to hide the wearer. Printed sneakers and baseball hats gave the clothes a modern athletic kick. Muslim Athleisure. Hijabs with chains, pearls, funky belts had me considering conversion ✡☪🕉☮. Def prettier than what one would see in Borough Park on a Friday afternoon.
I don't believe in the traditional definition of modesty. I don't see it as external. I define modesty as how you operate from your heart and spirit. Having been overexposed to a religious belief system that defines modesty as external, I have become disillusioned with the focus on the outside of people. It drives me crazy. It is a mistake to teach that as a focus of life, in any religion. What joins us as humans is what we share inside. Underneath any clothing we are made of the same stuff. Same heart, same blood, same breath. However, I am certainly familiar with religious dress. I so admire how ViviZubedi demonstrated that irregardless of religion, women are beautiful and want to feel beautiful.
Coming from Jakarta, Indonesia, Vivi was originally an accountant. After realizing her dream was in fashion, she became focused on bringing Muslim dress into the fashion arena. This particular collection is special, since its goal is to bring awareness and economic support to the ancient female weavers of South Kalimantan. A region in Borneo, this area is known for the time honored techniques and traditions in how their women weave and craft artisan fabrics. The difficult techniques are what make the fabrics so special and original. The weavers range in age from teens to elders. By using these fabrics in her collection, Vivi, a champion of women worldwide, hopes to show the world the beauty of this ancient craft. How wonderful; to use Fashion Week to spotlight a group of women that most of the world doesn't even know exists. Vivi brought godliness to fashion week not only through her designs, but more so through her humanitarian. She used her voice for sheer good. THAT is why we are here. Injecting the fashion world with true acts of kindness and support for our fellow man makes all the psychotic bitchiness and seat grabbing worth it (I'm talking to a certain blogger here...but she won't read this...if she can even read...).
As for moi, I went 70's boho chic. Bell bottom jeans, vintage fur coat, purple boots, and a silk scarf tied under my wide brim hat. Cross body bag embroidered with bright flowers, purchased on the beach in Mexico. I felt like I raided Steven Tyler's closet, which is exactly what I was aiming for🎤.