Q and A About Fashion with Wardina (English version)
1. What does fashion mean to you?
Something that is now, dictated by the capitalists - mass produced items to basically generate income. Fashion is something that is never static, for the gold post shifts from time to time. It’s something that is subjected by what is 'popular'. The media then is an influential medium and tool that determines the 'popularity' of a fashion item through repeated and constant bombardment of subjective messages via the use of advertisements and through often impactful pictures that entices a person’s emotion when watching or looking at it.
2. Tell me a bit about your journey in fashion.
I was a fashion slave, well, I was a model...beauty means "thin, white, blonde". I bought whatever that is 'popular', I wanted to be seen as ’cool’ and wanted to be in' with the crowd. .It was almost like I didn't have a choice BUT to just follow whatever was in the fashion magazines. I didn’t want to b left behind nor did I want to stand out like a sore thumb. Fashion was dictated by those in the fashion industry and at that time, it was basically a copy cat of the fashion trend in the West mainly the Hollywood popular culture. It still is until today. To be 'modern' is equivalent to wear what the Hollywood stars wear. :)
The fashion that i was so obsessed about was mainly emphasizing on beauty that was merely physical. I realized that without all the garments i didn't really have an identity. It was very superficial to me. Take all the accessories and ridiculously expensive bags away... what kind of person am i? I needed the all the fancy stuff and high-end branded goods to have a sense of self worth.
Once i started thinking of it, i started to search for something more than just a physical sense of self worth. I decided to dive into my soul.. i found emptiness, despite the so called 'physical beauty' i apparently possess .. however, i didn’t really 'feel' beautiful. I had very low self esteem and i had to cover that up with 'make up' or attract attention by very 'revealing' clothes that i wear. I was respected for my beauty.... nothing else. That scared me. Yet I know im worth more than just my physical beauty. Why did i have to expose myself to get people 'looking' or talking about me? That started the journey to really 'study' this faith that i was born into yet i took it for granted. A faith that didn't emphasize on physical beauty but the inner beauty of a person.
3. How do you combine your interest in fashion and your faith?
The Quran mentions 7:26 that the garment of righteousness is the best garment to be adorned. "Righteousness" is a concept that wasn't given much attention particularly in the fashion world. I believe that my faith forces us to expose a civilized beauty that is distinctive rather than instinctive. A beauty from within that although seem to be covered yet radiates from a person in ways that are unexplainable.
Ironically I felt so much more freedom being 'covered' rather than when I 'exposed' myself. It was really enlightening, and I was overwhelmed by a feeling of liberation and independence that i have never felt before. I felt so much more in control of myself. In a way I am forcing the other person to judge me by what I have to offer, the person i am on the INSIDE, not out. I feel liberated that I was no longer a fashion slave. I can turn a magazine page without the pressure to buy. "Popular trends" were no longer in my dictionary.
I started to focus on my intellect and talent rather than my cleavage or sexy body. It’s my character that matters, not the garment nor the physical body... Modesty is the key factor in anything i wear, it also transcends in my attitude and thinking. I basically externalized my faith through my physical appearance.
4. What are your challenges in managing both faith and fashion?
Challenge is probably managing other people’s expectations of me, but then again my faith teaches me to worry more about my Creator than what people say. Another challenge is for "me" to understand the essence of why my faith requires me to dress the way I do. Understanding the blessings of doing so, and making an informed decision. This is very important to me. I wouldn’t want to be just a "follower" anymore. I need to make sure that i have a deep understanding of why I’m doing the things i do.
I don’t really encounter much problem.... I believe in the concept of modesty, and I still think I am able to look good and presentable in any occasion despite the fashion of faith I wear. Faith to me is actually very fashionable.
Apparently nowadays faith is gaining popularity. It is also capitalized by many...hence the endless "Muslim"-wear, it is now a huge money making industry. I just make sure I don't fall in the trap twice. :)
5. How do you manage the challenges in combining the Islamic faith and fashion?
Honestly I don’t find it a problem at all. Initially there were prejudices - Since I was a model and actress, some people say that I’m never going to make it big any more. I’ll die off, because I am no longer a sex symbol. Instead the complete opposite happened. People embraced the different values i decided to uphold, the different concept of beauty i propagated. Just be true to yourself, have good values you’ll be able to live anywhere despite whatever you choose to wear.