Introduction: Turkey’s Muslimists: From Veil-Chic Women to a New Political Ethos

  • Neslihan Cevik


In 2008, during New York Couture Week, one of the most prestigious fashion events in the world, “the most innovative fashion designer award” went to Rabia Haute Couture Line, owned by Rabia Yalcin. Rabia is a veiled Turkish woman and a mother of a young veiled girl. In the West, Rabia is renowned as a “gown guru.” In Turkey, however, she is a fashion authority on “veil-chicness,” advising Muslim women how to combine Islamic modesty with contemporary design and aesthetics. This new combination, according to Rabia, is very easy to attain and requires neither lavish expense nor the sacrifice of Islamic modesty; one simply needs to observe some basic rules:

Don’t use bright colors; otherwise, you would look like a walking ball of fabric … If you have an orange veil and orange shoes, no way you would look aesthetic; unless you want to look like a fruit! … Wear the bone under your scarf, so your hair won’t show, but loosen the scarf to lessen the claustrophobic affect … Instead of square scarves, prefer rectangular ones. Hang down your scarf underneath your jacket and create a Grace Kelly effect … Be careful with your diet. Extra pounds are the enemies of tesettur chic-ness!1


Individual Autonomy Political Sphere External Authority Islamic State Secularist State 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Neslihan Cevik 2016

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