Even The Fashion World Is At War Over The Israeli–Palestinian Conflict

When Muslim fashion blogger Summer Albarcha was pictured wearing a design by two Orthodox Jews, the internet went crazy. Here's why...


by Zing Tsjeng |
Published on

Who doesn’t love a good #ootd post, right? As it turns out, quite a lot of people – especially if they think it relates to the current bloody conflict in Israel and Palestine.

Mimi Hecht and Mushky Notik are two Brooklyn residents who run Mimu Maxi, an independent boutique specialising in modest clothing. As The Village Voice reports, the two women are observant Orthodox Jews who started their label as a chic, on-trend answer to the modest dress code required by their religion.

Obviously, Mimu Maxi doesn’t just appeal to Orthodox Jewish fashionistas – Muslim fashion blogger Summer Albarcha, who runs the 14,000 follower-strong Instagram @hipsterhijabis, counts herself as a fan. So when she posted an #ootd pic looking stellar in Mimu Maxi’s signature ‘skirt leggings’, the brand happily re-posted it to its Facebook page and Instagram as part of an ongoing collab with the blogger.

Dismayingly, many women from Mimu Maxi’s Orthodox fanbase didn’t take too well to this. ‘Insensitive’ said one disapproving customer in the comments section. ‘Appalling’ chimed another. Some even called for a full-on boycott of Mimu Maxi.

Why the uproar? They claimed that posting an image of a Muslim woman was way inappropriate, given the ongoing violence in Israel and Palestine – kind of like it was rubbing it in Jewish people’s faces, if you will.

But while you’d expect most brands to back away from controversy and any discussion of the Middle East conflict (hey, even Rihanna deleted her #FreePalestine tweet), Mimi and Mushky tackled the criticism head-on. In a statement cross-posted to

(http://instagram.com/p/qaBGhhBHuc/?modal=true), the two designers stood by their decision to post Summer’s photo – and they didn’t mince words when it came to calling out their Jewish customers.

‘It was exciting for us to share a Muslim modest fashion blogger’s style-take on our design,’ Mimi and Mushky explain, firmly allying themselves with Summer. ‘It was modest. It was feminine. It was beautiful.’

The pair describe the ‘visceral reaction’ provoked by Summer’s outfit as ‘truly alarming’, saying they even deleted some of the more insensitive comments on their social media accounts ‘out of sheer embarrassment that our non-Jewish followers should see them.’

‘We cannot adopt the unequivocal mode of hate our enemies have fashioned for us,’ they continue. ‘Summer is a modest fashion blogger from Missouri who shares some of our deepest values and did not deserve the ensuing response simply by collaborating with us on a beautiful shared cause that we are ALL meant to embrace… more than ever… especially now.’

To date, over a thousand followers have liked the posts on both social networks, with Muslims and Jews all over the world hi-fiving Mimi and Mushky in the comments – and more than a few new customers saying that they actually purchased a pair of skirt leggings as a gesture of support.

And despite the disproportionate fury over her #ootd, Summer says that it was worth it – she’s even gained some new Jewish followers too. ‘These comments were not discouraging at all,’ she told The Village Voice, ‘but rather empowered me to understand that there is a possibility for everything when posting on social media.’

So, the next time somebody tells you that social media doesn’t accomplish anything, point them to this heartwarming story of interfaith dialogue. Who said fashion can’t have good politics?

Follow Zing on Twitter @misszing

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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