Reflection and response

Powerhouse Museum staff and members of the Muslim community involved in the development of Faith, fashion, fusion will be posting their reflections, insights and behind-the scenes anecdotes during the course of the exhibition. We’d also love you to share your experiences and thoughts on the themes explored in this exhibition, publication and website.

Please click here to add your contribution.

How it all started…

Glynis Jones
I’m frequently asked where the idea came from and must admit the exhibition had a long gestation. It was a striking media image of Mecca Laalaa standing on Cronulla beach in 2006 that first sparked my interest in modest fashion styles. [...] Read the rest of the entry

From Egypt to exhibition

Melanie Pitkin
It was back in September 2010. I was preparing for a university research trip to Egypt, which meant I already had modest dress on my mind, when I first heard that my colleague, Glynis Jones, had been given the green light to develop an exhibition on contemporary Muslim women’s fashion in Australia. “Alhamdulillah!”, I thought – quickly followed by “I hope she needs an Assistant Curator. This exhibition is a perfect fit for me!”. [...] Read the rest of the entry

Thanks from Fay

Fay Tellaoui
Yesterday wasn’t the highlight of my career but the highlight of my life. Today I woke up and realised it wasn’t a dream, THANK YOU AUSTRALIA for making my dreams come true. No matter how many times I say Thank you it will still never ever express how grateful I am…. Thank you Glynis Jones, Melanie Pitkin and the Powerhouse team. It’s people like you who make this world a better place.

Thanks from Aida

Aida Zein
I just want to say a MASSIVE thanx to every1 @ the Powerhouse Museum!! This was an experience of a life time!!

Designing the visual identity

Peter Gould
Being asked to develop visual identity in collaboration with one of Australia’s most iconic design institutions is the type of creative challenge every graphic design studio dreams about.

As an Australian Muslim working on local & international branding projects it seemed like a perfect fit, so I was passionate about developing the Faith, fashion, fusion exhibition & book design from the start. The intention was to create a striking, memorable series of graphic elements that would surprise, excite and challenge stereotypical imagery of Muslim women. [...] Read the rest of the entry

Australian Muslim women and fashion online

Melanie Pitkin
In the course of developing the Faith, fashion, fusion exhibition, I undertook some research into online retailing, social engagement and Muslim fashion. I started my research by trawling through countless websites, blogs, forums and Facebook pages, before looking into existing research to see what has been studied and where the gaps are. [...] Read the rest of the entry

Oishee’s response

Oishee Alam
The Faith Fashion Fusion exhibition is incredible – I really urge you to check it out sometime over the next nine months. Massive props to Glynis Jones, Melanie Pitkin, Peter Gould and the entire team at the Powerhouse Museum who worked tirelessly to make it happen.

Susan’s response

Susan Carland
Faith Fashion Fusion exhibit at the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney is amazing! Beautiful, engaging, multifaceted – even has cute stuff for little kids to play with. Go if you can (it’s there till Feb), and HUGE props to the organisers.

“Modesty is in your values, not your clothes.”

Jason
What a celebration of female repression.

If you were brave and purposeful, you would’ve done an exhibition on muslim women who chose and dared to defy the religious bondage to express their identity and womanhood.

The question is, why do only women have to have this, so called, ‘modest’ fashion? Muslim men are allowed to be immodest i guess? Or else they would have been wearing their Arab attire in Australia too. And why does covering your head mean you are modest? Modesty is in your values, not your clothes.

Sad.

“Not to be missed”

Sara Youssef
The Faith, fashion, fusion Exhibition I have one word for you, incredible! It’s been a while since I’ve walked into a space where everything is revolved around Muslim fashion and its authentic representation and this exhibition did just that. [...] Read the rest of the entry

Thoughts from an Australian Muslim convert living in Egypt

Sue Ryan
I am an Australian-born writer of Anglo-Celtic descent, living in Egypt. With pale skin, blue eyes and dark blonde hair, I don’t fit the generalisation many people hold of “what a Muslim looks like”. My parents were of different religions; Mum Christian and Dad Jewish, with Dad converting to Christianity some time after their marriage. Dad, being a redhead with an Irish-Catholic family name, did not fit the generalization of “what a Jew looks like”, so I learnt from his stories about the prejudices that you can observe and experience when you are not one of the majority. [...] Read the rest of the entry

A learning experience

Rahmaa
The Faith, fashion, fusion exhibition is a lending hand to others in the community to help better understand Australian women present in our society. The muslim women on display are specialised in different roles and we learn that they’re strong,powerful and open minded. [...] Read the rest of the entry

“Thank you for bringing such a wonderful exhibition to life”

Robyn
Two months ago whilst in Sydney I was fortunate enough to view the Faith Fashion Fusion exhibition when visiting the Powerhouse. I am a teacher of Religious Education at a Catholic secondary college in Victoria, and as such I was incredibly impressed by the video interviews that played on the small screens in the foyer. [...] Read the rest of the entry

A token representation of Muslim women

Layla
After examining the website content, it appears that although many of the Muslim women represented have extensive strengths and values; “celebrating” these through a fashion lens seems very token and shallow.

In a world where the concept of fashion often does more harm to women than good – renowned for objectifying women and fuelling insecurities, it seems absurd that faith and fashion can be used together to affirm positivity. Despite whatever good intentions may have been at play to broaden an understanding of Muslim women and Islam, focusing on the fusion of faith and fashion in Muslim women not only seems like an oxymoron, but seems to reinforce a stereotypical focus of Muslim women as the representatives and “flag-bearers” of Islam, and by so doing, sharpens the focus of an already narrow spotlight on Muslim women in Australia and the west. Women represented so intimately with fashion seems like an incompatible concept with faith. [...] Read the rest of the entry

Faith, fashion and nuclear fusion

John Neesh
Shame on you for letting religion come to your museum. This exhibition should be called “Muslim fashion”, but you couldn’t put that could you? You’ve sneaked in religion in a science museum. It is insulting to me as a scientist. I brought my daughter to see the power of science and you’ve shown her burkinis. Shame.