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Beauty and the bigot: tackling Islamophobia with modest fashion

The hijab has been the centre of debate in the western world [Hijabhouse]

Date of publication: 15 February, 2017

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As hostility against women who wear the hijab escalate in the Western world, so are the profits of Islamic 'discrete' fashion outlets.
As debates on the hijab being an object of oppression and rising hostility against women who wear the hijab escalate in the Western world, so are the profits of Islamic fashion outlets.

Muslims in Australia have found themselves thriving by combatting negative sentiments surrounding Islam by embracing their religious identity, fashion included.

Tarik Houchar, the director of ‘Hijab House’, an Australian hijabi fashion outlet told the Daily Mail that the work of his company is lost on the vast majority of the Australian public and the Australian political machine because of the now normalised Islamophobia in Australia.

He said he wishes that Australians would be “proud of what we do” by being an all-inclusive brand.

Hijab House’s vision is to cater for hijab wearers, but unite the community doing so. Houchar makes an active effort to hire gay and transgender people, with many of the Hijab House’s makeup artists and photographers being from the LGBTQ+ community.

Read also: Hijabs, white supremacy and Swedish-Iranian economic deals

Houcharsaid that his company, based in Sydney's southwest Smithfield, employs people from all walks of life, and hopes to raise its annual sales to $ 5 million soon with the help of the Australian community.

"We may be a Muslim fashion company, but we are first and foremost Australian," he said.

Hijab House however does not sell the niqab. When asked why, Houchar simply explained that Tariq explains that there is not enough of a market for the face veil, because only a small amount of women in Australia wear one, rather than the company being against the face veil.

Sales of hijabs are independent of rhetoric from politicians like Jacqui Lambie and Pauline, but are very strong regardless as Muslim fashion is a booming industry,” he said.

'While politicians waste their time being hateful and ignorant, we are sitting here creating jobs, manufacturing in Australia, supporting local communities and adding value to Australia's export community,' he said, creating a dichotomy between the anti-Muslim rhetoric in the Australian political establishment and civil society.

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