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Guest speaker discusses Middle Eastern style to current issues class

October 22, 2015

For Hiba Jaafari, wearing a hijab is a personal choice that’s not so much about her religion as it is about being conservative.

“It’s about modesty,” she told students in Stephanie Link’s Current Issues in the Fashion Industry class today.

She wears the headscarf anywhere she might be in the presence of men who are not relatives, she said.

Jaafari is a Columbia native whose family is from Damascus. Growing up, she and her family visited Syria every other summer, helping her embrace her dual identity. A University of Missouri graduate, today, she lives in Washington, D.C.

Jaafari presented a slideshow of photos of traditional dress, as well as her street style. Jaafari mixes Western fashion such as sleeveless dresses with long sleeves and slacks to combine style and modesty.

Following a slideshow, Jaafari fielded a number of questions from students, most of whom wanted to know about using cultural and religious practices for fashion purposes.

Is it OK to wear a hijab just because it looks fashionable?

“As long as it’s not done in a negative connotation,” Jaafari said. “The point of wearing it is modesty, so if it looks cute and looks good and displays modesty, that’s great.”

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