Hassidic Fashion in NYC
Refinery 29 produced a video series called “Styles Out There” where host Asha Leo traveled the world for a sort of anthropological perspective on Fashion. In one of the episodes titled “Meet Brooklyn’s Hasidic Designers,” they traveled to a Hasidic neighborhood in Brooklyn that is not far from the New York Fashion world but in many ways is in another world altogether! No matter your cultural or religious background, you have some conception of what’s okay and not okay to wear in public. For most modern, secular women, the rules are pretty relaxed: Cleavage is usually fine, but you should probably keep your nipples covered. Pelvage might be fun to spot on the red carpet, but it’s not so practical for everyday life. For orthodox Jews, modesty is much more specific. Each creed or sect has its own strict clothing guidelines that pertain to fabric, colors, length, and cut. For most, that means elbows are covered; necklines stay high; long, conservative skirts are a must; and married women cover their hair.
For modern New Yorkers, those rules might seem more suffocating than empowering. However, preserving modesty doesn’t have to be ideologically opposed to promoting creativity. As we’ve come to learn from two Hasidic women, Brooklyn designers Mimi Hecht and Mushky Notik of Mimu Maxi, living both a religious life and a fashionable one are pursuits that can go hand in hand. Their fashion-forward personal style has led them to become more in touch with their spirituality, their community, and a larger world of women from all religious backgrounds looking for modest fashion that’s also exciting. In our third episode of Style Out There, Asha Leo hops across the river to Crown Heights to meet with a new generation of observant Jews who are changing the definition of religious fashion.
The most eye opening part of this episode is toward the end when, at a pop up shop set up in the neighborhood, a group of fashion conscious religious Muslim women join their Chabad sisters in the quest for modest fashion. To see the rest of the Style Out There episodes, visit the Refinery 24 YouTube Channel.