You guys can´t imagine how excited I am to share this wonderful news  today on my site. As of yesterday I officially graduated from AMFI – Amsterdam Fashion Institute. Yesterday we had the official award ceremony and I can now label myself AMFI alumni. My graduation thesis was all about contemporary Muslim fashion in the Netherlands, titled:  ‘ Hijab In Fashion, the fashionable reinvention of modesty. ‘

Linda Magazine already wrote a piece about my thesis here, but below I am showing you guys my total thesis product, which ended up to be an article and editorial for GRAZIA magazine. This to share my findings and show how I would approach the five Muslim tribes I found in the Netherlands.

( Side note, how cool would it be if GRAZIA would actually publish this!?)

Why this subject you may ask, but for me the increase in negative attention around veiled attire when I started this research  was bothering me. Especially the lack of knowledge people have around the subject was a motivation to choose this as my topic for my final thesis. .

The article I wrote truly summarizes my thesis perfectly and the images show you my take on modest dress.  It is in Dutch, but I have translated the article for you guys!Artiekel Grazia Christian Mpamo SPREAD

English translation of the article:

Through much attention around veiled attire lately, GRAZIA decided to interview a fashion enthusiast about this subject. The 21-year-old Christian Mpamo who wrote his thesis at the Amsterdam Fashion Institute on the changing style of contemporary Muslim women in the Netherlands was more than happy to share his research findings with the GRAZIA reader.

For his research he repeated the research done by Charlotte Corstanje earlier in 2008, which was also a study on Muslim dress in the Netherlands.

 

What for you sparked the interest to research Muslim dress in the Netherlands?

For me, before I started this research, veiling was an elusive and unknown territory. I obviously knew the prejudices about women wearing headscarves; they supposedly are oppressed and have no opinion. However, this did not correspond with what I saw happening around me. After reading the research findings of Charlotte Corstanje of her research in 2008, I became interested to see if the clothing style of these girls had been changed  now by the emerge of social media and blogs for example.

What were the biggest changes you found?

For me it quickly became clear that another social and cultural debate is emerging amongst Muslims themselves about what  in their eyes is modest dress and how they want to interpret it themselves. The advantages of social media sites such as Instagram and great bloggers like Ruba Zai (www.hijab-hills.com) and Dina Torkia (www.daysofdoll.com) – who mean nothing to western people, but who are big names  amongst  young women wearing headscarves – made it clear to me that now more than ever women wearing headscarves are connected to each other.  They discover and share style advice, new ways of wearing a headscarf via social media,  to arrive at creative solutions to wear conservative attire. By doing so they themselves decide what is modest dress.

 

Which groups did you found on the street?

After about two months of field research done in Amsterdam, Utrecht, Rotterdam and The Hague, seeking women with a hijab (headscarf) and doing  one hundred thirty interviews and taking eighty street style pictures, I came to some interesting observations about the clothing habits of the Dutch Muslim. I for example saw interesting enough that a small but growing group of women wearing headscarves showed hair. I also discovered that there are five big groups in which you could categorize these woman. These groups are reflected in an editorial after this interview. This to show my view on modern modest dress.

What is your advice for the fashion industry?

This year Mango launched a clothing line in honor of Ramadan. In addition, the three friends of Nesci also started a clothing line that aims to make some modest fashionable clothes.  The research data I have found with my thesis shows that there is a demand for modest clothes. If you see the impact Islamic blogs have on the community and how this as positively affected the interest for fashion amongst these girls, it would be strange not to cater to these needs.  My advice for the fashion industry would be to look into these tribes and see how you could cater to their needs and add value within.

 

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Photo credits:

Photography: Valentine Bouquet

Concept & Styling: Christian Mpamo

Model: Wendy Pols @Ulla Models

Ass Styling: Tessa Bosma

Ass Styling: Louise Kluit

Hair and Make-Up: Sisley Aymee Angenois