This exhibition started on February 28, 2020 and is on display until August 23, 2020.

There were 122 objects in this exhibition but right now we can only show you 115 of them. Some objects may not be viewable because they were on loan; this might be due to issues involving image rights or simply because there is no digitized image for the objects.

See all the exhibitions.

View and print exhibition labels.

Contemporary Muslim Fashions is the first major museum exhibition to explore the rise of the modest fashion industry. Modest fashion refers to garments that are both highly fashionable and provide sufficient body cover to address cultural concerns for modesty. Many Muslim women and men dress modestly, in accordance with their faith, but individual and collective interpretations of modesty vary widely.

In recent years, there has been increased awareness of Muslim consumers as an important segment of the global fashion industry, and increased visibility for designers and brands whose clothing responds to their needs. In some countries, such as Saudi Arabia and Iran, covering in the public sphere is regulated by law. Elsewhere it is a personal choice, informed by religious, cultural, and political concerns. Contemporary Muslim Fashions focuses on the intersection of regional dress styles, global fashion trends, and personal attitudes toward modesty. The exhibition does not aim to be a definitive survey but instead offers a current snapshot of Muslim women and fashion by spotlighting key themes and locations.

Fashion can serve as a platform for self-expression and as a tool for positive social change. The exhibition examines how Muslim women—those who cover their heads and those who do not—have become arbiters of style within and beyond their communities. As designers and entrepreneurs, they have shown that clothing can be on-trend and still meet the needs of diverse wearers. As consumers, they have used their influence to shape global fashion markets. And as journalists, bloggers, and influencers, they have confronted a lack of representation in the mainstream fashion narrative and drawn international attention to the vitality of Muslim modest style.

Contemporary Muslim Fashions is organized by the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.

The Cooper Hewitt presentation of Contemporary Muslim Fashions is made possible by support from the August Heckscher Exhibition Fund.

Additional support is provided by the Barbara and Morton Mandel Design Gallery Endowment Fund and Edward and Helen Hintz.

Funding is also provided by the Cooper Hewitt Master's Program Fund.

  • Handbag, 2016
  • painted leather.
  • Courtesy of Alaa Balkhy.
  • 5.2019.21