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© Elin Berge

They are called Hijabistas. Young fashionistas that mix street fashion and influences from the catwalks with the Muslim hijab. Through social media they inspire hundreds of thousands of women over the world and their presence also affect the mainstream fashion scene. They are trendsetters and several have become international style icons.

But they are also provocateurs. The way Muslim women dress is a matter that secular westerners as well as conservative Muslims have a lot of opinions about. The hijab is a minefield. When H&M chosed to include a model in hijab for two seconds in a fashion video campaign last year, the international debate went loud and emotional. France has recently banned the full covering niqab in public places and now also the burkini swimsuit in some cities. On the other hand, the so called ”haram police” – people who think they have the right answers to what is forbidden for a Muslim woman to wear - are persistently present on social media, aggressively banning the hijabistas for their way of dressing and behaving.

The Thompson Reuters State of the Global Islamic Economy valid that the Muslim fashion industry will turn over 488 billion dollar year 2019. And there are no signs that the busy pioneers called hijabistas are going to stop having fun, to inspire others or to continue pushing the boundaries of what it means to be a Muslim women in a western society. Through fashion they show how western and Muslim culture can interlace and change norms.

Elin Berge has met the stars of the Swedish Muslim fashion scene.

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