- The exhibition documents how young Muslims navigate between external western influences and internal cultural norms.
- Nadia Girach tackles negative stereotypes and educates non-Muslims about the faith
- The project idea followed Nadia’s conversation with someone who called Islam a ‘brown person religion’.
Showcasing the complex relationship between Islam and Western fashion, a Leicester-born Muslim university student has created an online exhibition to document the ways young Muslims navigate between external western influences and their own internal cultural norms.
Set to graduate from De Montfort University in September, Nadia Girach, 24, created the ‘One of My Kind’ online digital exhibition as part of a university project. The exhibition is a collection of stunning images, all taken by Nadia.
“Growing up I didn’t see many things like this” the Fashion, Communication and Styling student told Leicestershire Live.
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“Looking around my classroom, I didn’t really see anyone that looked like me – from a minority background, doing fashion and religion is a big part of my identity, so every project that I have created really captures that and I want to continue to represent the people, who aren’t really represented.”
She added: “It was a culmination of exploring the diversity within the realms of Islamic fashion. Looking at Muslims across the world who share the same main tenets of Islam, but they differ in their levels of religious commitment, acceptance and openness.
“It was looking at different people from different cultures embracing Islam, and how the younger generation combine their faith with fashion. It’s becoming more apparent that the younger generation are more proud of where they come from, whereas before they were embarrassed about it.”
The project idea followed Nadia’s conversation with someone who called Islam a ‘brown person religion’.
“It’s really interesting how some people don’t know what Islam is, but it’s actually important to have these conversations because it can lead to calling out this racism and ignorance,” Nadia said.
“In the fashion industry, you see so many other people’s representation of Islam. I had to have multiple conversations and take on a collaborative approach between myself and the people I photographed, because I wanted this to be a really accurate and authentic representation of what Islam is for different people.
“I hope it shows people who perhaps aren’t religious, believe in a different life, and see it from an unbiased perspective.”
Nadia said she received an outpouring of support with many praising her exhibition and saying it would have a massive impact on the next generation.
Recently, the project has also won the prestigious Burberry Culture and Heritage Award and snagged the runner’s up prize for FACE’s Excellence Award.