Kerianoff, Annoushik E. (2018) The effects that the concept of modesty has on the everyday dress of women from religious groups within London neighbourhoods currently. Masters thesis, University of Huddersfield.

“Tell the believing women to lower their gaze and be modest, and to display of their adornment only that which is apparent, and to draw their veils over their chests, and not to reveal their adornment.”
Qu’ran (24:30)

This study investigates the correlation between modesty and the dress of religious Muslim and Jewish women in London. A key element of this study is examining the different religious concepts behind modesty and women and how they have interpreted them to form their own personal identity through the clothing that they wear.

This is an ethnographic study into the modest dress of Jewish and Muslim women within specific London neighbourhoods. Qualitative data was used to gather research exploring the definitions of modesty within Judaism and Islam.

Drawing on existing research into both modesty and dress within the UK this study shows how religious identity can influence a woman’s ideals of modesty within a multicultural society and how these ideals affect their clothing choices. Secondary academic research provides historical context for the multifaceted subject of modesty and dress. This study combines religious text with modern theories and ideas, which provides a broad perspective on the topic. The term ‘modest dress’ has become popularised in the past five years, with religious communities at the forefront of this clothing revolution. Lewis (pg 5, 2011) has studied the growth of modest dress within London: “...modest dressing is on the rise, and they, more so than their mothers or grandmothers, are combining modest dress with mainstream fashion styles and shapes”.

Through this investigation, the religious principles of modesty were analysed by conducting a large amount of primary research, involving visiting places of religious worship, neighbourhoods known for concentrated religious communities, and engagement with religious community groups. 7 unique women were interviewed about modesty and the social dilemmas they face in wearing or not wearing modest dress. This study focused on the way modest dress ideals are incorporated into the self-identity of women and how they master the challenges and conflict of a modern worldview of fashionable belonging.

Kerianoff THESIS.pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

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