Muslim Modest Fashions on Display: Curating, Community, Conversation

Layal Mohammad's picture
December 4, 2019
United Kingdom
Subject Fields: 
Art, Art History & Visual Studies, Islamic History / Studies, Middle East History / Studies


This series of eight lectures presents exciting research on Muslim contexts in Europe and North America. The series will focus on  issues relating to Muslim agency, creativity and strivings. What engages people and drives them to find new directions? The series will challenge conventional narratives about Islam in Europe and North America by providing stimulating, new perspectives based on recent and ongoing research.

Download the full list of lectures.


Muslim Modest Fashions on Display: Curating, Community, Conversation

By Reina Lewis, University of the Arts London


Professor Reina Lewis shares behind the scenes observations about the making of the exhibition Contemporary Muslim Fashions which opened at the Fine Art Museums of San Francisco in September 2018 and is now touring the world. Brought in to provide expertise on modest and Muslim fashion, Prof Lewis worked with museum fashion and textile curators. The cultural politics of showing ensembles with and without headcover and with differing definitions of modesty were fundamental to the staging of the exhibition and decisions were developed with a consultation group from local San Francisco Bay Area Muslim communities. Prof Lewis will reflect on how the challenges and opportunities of exhibiting religiously related fashion vary between locations, raising difference and opportunities for opening dialogue and building intercultural trust. 

Reina Lewis is Centenary Professor of Cultural Studies at London College of Fashion, University of the Arts London. Her books include: Muslim Fashion: Contemporary Style Cultures (2015), Rethinking Orientalism: Women, Travel and the Ottoman Harem (2004), and Gendering Orientalism: Race, Femininity and Representation (1996). She is editor of Modest Fashion: Styling Bodies, Mediating Faith, (2013). Reina was consulting curator for the exhibition Contemporary Muslim Fashions, at the Fine Art Museums of San Francisco in 2018 (touring Frankfurt 2019) and is co-editor of the accompanying catalogue with Jill D’Allesandro.

Reina is a frequent media commentator – most recently for the New York Times, Le Monde, BBC World, BBC Radio, CBC Radio, The Guardian, The Times, Marie-Claire Magazine, Elle Brazil,,, and Huffington Post.

Reina Lewis convenes the public talk series 
Faith and Fashion at the London College of Fashion.

Jonas Otterbeck, Professor of Islamic Studies, Aga Khan University Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations.

Time and Venue
Wednesday 4 December 2019, 17.00-18.30
Atrium Conference Room,
Aga Khan Centre,
10 Handyside Street,
London N1C 4DN

This event is free but booking is essential: 
To attend in person, please click here.
To attend online, please click here.


Contact Info: 


Layal Mohammad

Coordinator, Marketing, Communications and Professional Programmes

Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations

The Aga Khan University (International)

Aga Khan Centre, 10 Handyside Street, London N1C 4DN

Tel: +44 [0] 20 7380 3839

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