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Mediating Modesty: Fashioning Faithful Bodies

15 June 11

A symposium on the growing internet retail market for modest clothing among women of the three Abrahamic faiths: Islam, Christianity and Judaism

To listen to sessions of the conference and read paper abstracts, use the links on this and subsequent pages.

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Held at the London College of Fashion, 15th June 2011


[Follow these links to read abstracts and to listen to the presentations]

Reina Lewis (London College of Fashion, University of the Arts London)

Fashion Forward and Faith-tastic! online modest fashion and the development of women as religious interpreters and intermediaries 

Annelies Moors (University of Amsterdam)

Mediating Muslim Modesty Online

Emma Tarlo (Goldsmiths, London)

Meeting in Modesty? Jewish-Muslim encounters online

Barbara Goldman Carrel (Associate Adjunct Professor, The City University of New York)

Hasidic Women’s Fashion Aesthetic and Practice: The Long and Short of Tzniuth

Jane Cameron (London College of Fashion, University of the Arts, London)

Modest Motivations: Religious/secular contestation in the fashion field

Daniel Miller (University College London)

How Blue Jeans Became Modest

Shellie Slade [founder of clothing companies ModBod and Blend, USA]

Hana Tajima-Simpson [founder of clothing company Maysaa, UK, and blogger at StyleCovered]

Session Chairs:

Frances Corner [Head of College, London College of Fashion, University of Arts London]

Sarah Cheang [London College of Fashion, University of Arts London]

Iain Scobie [Joseph Hotung Research Professor of Law, SOAS]

Linda Woodhead [Religion and Society Programme Director]


Listen to the discussions following the presentations from here.


This symposium was part of the research project Modest Dressing: faith-based fashion and internet retail funded by the AHRC and ESRC as part of the Religion and Society Programme.

The last two decades has seen the development of a rapidly expanding and diversifying market for modest fashion, arising initially from and serving the needs of women from the three Abrahamic faiths who are motivated to dress modestly for religious reasons. This market is also sustained by women whose ‘look’ may share many elements of modest styling but who do not regard their processes of self-fashioning in terms of religion or modesty as such. For both groups the internet has been central to the rapid growth of the modest fashion sector, fostering the development of a niche market through e-commerce, and providing virtual platforms for debates on modesty and fashion on websites, blogs, and discussion fora.

“the internet has been central to the rapid growth of the modest fashion sector”

The symposium brought together speakers from cultural studies, anthropology, fashion studies and religious studies to think about women’s modest self presentation in the context of new forms of commerce, commentary, and community.

The symposium explored how and to what extent women of different backgrounds are engaging in shared discourses about modest dressing and body management within and across faiths.

Report and podcasts compiled by Norman Winter. Recordings of the symposium sessions are substantially complete, but may have been edited in small ways for technical and other reasons.

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