Jewish wigs and Islamic sportswear: Negotiating regulations of religion and fashion
This article explores the dynamics of freedom and conformity in religious dress prescriptions and fashion, arguing that although fashion is popularly perceived as liberating and religion as constraining when it comes to dress, in reality both demand conformity to normative expectations while allowing some freedom of interpretation. The article goes on to trace the emergence of new forms of fashionable religious dress such as the human-hair wigs worn by some orthodox Jewish women and the new forms of Islamic sportswear adopted by some Muslim women. It shows how these fashions have emerged through the efforts of religiously observant women to subscribe simultaneously to the expectations of fashion and religious prescription, which are seen to operate in a relationship of creative friction. In doing so, they invent new ways of dressing that push the boundaries of religious and fashion norms even as they seek to conform to them.