05 January 2010

Clothing and Society

"clothing articulates social relations"

(The Fashion of Architecture, p. 184)

To relate this quote to clothing to Islam, as many of us already know, the veil and the hijab was used to protect the members of high society when they ventured outside of their family quarters. The wearing of a scarf or head covering signified members of high society.

I won't say that this is true for all cultures in the Islamic world but as the East is becoming more exposed to the West and western fashion and influence is becoming more prominent in eastern society, the scarf is sometimes considered a signifier for members of a lower class.

This thought, I believe, is due to the relationship the hijab has to tradition. Often times, especially in the West, people consider adherence to tradition and a lack of adaption is common among lower class societies who either, are not exposed to the advancement of the rest of the world or who do not have the fiscal ability to keep up with the changing times.

What do you think? Is adherence to tradition (with respect to clothing and the hijab) a symbol of lower class societies?