Artizein: Arts and Teaching Journal

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In this pivotal time, assumptions, boundaries, power structures and relationships within society are being reconsidered and reimagined. My research project, “Fashion, Identity and the Muslim- American Narrative” builds off of well-established prior models and responds to this moment. Through this multidisciplinary, multimedia design workshop series geared towards Muslim American female adolescents, we are able to leverage the powerful intersection of design, technology, community, social media and social justice. In this affirming, enlightening space, we use fashion, dress and personal narrative as the springboard and means of exploring the intrinsic connection between social and emotional issues surrounding identity development, social justice and female empowerment.

Through the lens of fashion (an easily accessible and universal touch point for
 engagement), students are guided through the process of self and peer reflection, examining how dress directly reflects systems of thought, power and constructed norms. Through a safe, familiar environment consisting of peers and a fellow Muslim woman at the helm (often a first-time experience for many), students develop relationships and feel seen while expressing stories about how we navigate public vs. private spheres (especially relevant in the new virtual frontiers of social media and video conferencing). Participants acquire the relevant vocabulary and make direct connections about how vital their voices are as storytellers.

Through this workshop model, young Muslim women are offered the opportunity to look deeper, to consider the core aspects of their intersectional identities and most critically, how they choose to be in the world while being authentic and true to themselves and their heritage. Through low- stakes experimentation of styling, fashion design explorations and visual curation in a safe environment, students find the inspiration and confidence to be brave in the face of the complex landscape of the post-911, post-Covid, post-BLM future.



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