Sultana's Dream

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Sultana's Dream
November 2013


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New Muslim Fashion Exhibition opens at the Immigration Museum

You have heard of a fashionista, but what about a hijabista? The latest exhibition at the Immigration Museum Faith, fashion, fusion: Muslim women’s style in Australia sheds light on an intriguing corner of a multimillion-dollar fashion industry we rarely hear about.   

Faith, fashion, fusion: Muslim Women’s Style in Australia showcases the Muslim designers and fashion entrepreneurs whose work is bringing modest couture to the forefront of contemporary Australian fashion.    

Many of these labels were founded by Muslim women whose own experience of finding fashionable head scarves was either limited or non-existent, and this led them to start designing and making their own clothes. This includes a designer who creates high-end dresses inspired by pop star Rihanna, to the swimwear designer who created the one and only Burqini®,” said Padmini Sebastian, Immigration Museum Manager.  

Their clients, the new fashionistas, or ‘hijabistas’ as many call themselves, use blogs and social media to find out the new fashion trends worldwide. These fashion blogs offer tips on how to make popular fashion comply with the Muslim dress code.  Melbourne fashion designer and blogger Zulfiye, who is featured in the exhibition, describes this process as ‘hijabifying’.  Known online as the ‘Hijab Stylist’, Zulfiye is one of the stars of the Melbourne Muslim fashion scene with thousands of people following her every move on social media.   

With nearly 38 per cent of Muslim Australians born in Australia, ‘modest fashion’ is part of a new culture being carved out by a community which fuses faith and beliefs with Australian cultural identity.   

This fusion is showcased throughout the exhibition from the striking image of surf lifesaver Mecca Laalaa standing proudly in her custom designed Australian Surf Life Saving Burqini®, to the Western Sydney Auburn Tigers female AFL football team that is made up of players from diverse cultures and whose uniforms allow for among other things, the wearing of a head scarf.   

A number of high profile Australian Muslim women are also profiled in the exhibition, offering personal insights to their lives through a selection of photographs, treasured objects and interviews .…  

“The exhibition truly reflects the diversity of the Muslim female experience in Australia from artists, activists to academics, and of course fashionistas,” says Tasneem Chopra, the curator of the Melbourne content for the exhibition.


Media Release courtesy Immigration Museum  

Faith, Fashion, Fusion  
10 October 2013 to 9 July 2014  
Immigration Museum, 400 Flinders Street, Melbourne  
Adults $10, children and concessions FREE

Want to know more? Further articles about this exhibition can be found here.

Macintosh Dima G Souce Museum Victoria, Lahza Photography.jpg

Melbourne based fashion label Dima G – Lahza Photography

Melbourne based fashion label SAJAA, Lahza Photography.


Online fashion label Yaz Designs, Lahza Photography.

Melbourne based spoken word artist Alia Gabres – Lahza Photography