If anyone did not catch Dina Tokio’s interesting newsletter this month here is a little snippet surrounding her reflections as a mother of 2 at 29. The blog post is titled ‘How Modest are we though?’ She addresses some of the key problems we all experience as consumers, and how she has, on a personal level, trained herself to not buy so much, whilst giving away things she really does not wear or is wasteful of. This is pretty big, to have a blogger that is fully entrenched and immersed in the world of consuming as a job, lifestyle, and career choice, and fully acknowledge her own part to play in it, is massively transformative. She critiques her own position, which is an emboldened move. She also presents how she is slowly removing herself from the blogosphere enough to be able to critique the culture that lies within it, even if, as a fashion blogger and consumer, she knows she would profit more off of keeping quiet about these issues. She discusses ethical consuming, her choices, and how longevity is achieved with higher quality goods, that will serve their purpose for far longer, preventing overspending in this neverending hampster wheel of fast fashion. Credits to Dina and her husband Sid, for often using their platform to raise awareness about issues the youth are facing, but are often criticised for their methods in doing so. Its massively important to speak well of those, who are working towards change, in any capacity, something often the Muslim community, can get a little lost in the sauce about.
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“I turned 29 the other week and I’m pregnant with baby no2. I mention being pregnant just incase all of my emotions can be excused due to that. I have to be honest with you the run up to my birthday I was dreading it. Not that I ever really do anything for it or celebrate it as much as some like to. For some reason I was just feeling so low about it, feeling old, feeling like I’ve let myself go, panicking about letting myself go even further once the baby arrives, not achieving what I thought I would have by now.
Birthday morning came around and I found myself waking up at 6am and having to pretend to be asleep for the sake of my toddler surprising me, I really felt like a mum more than any other moment in the last 2.5 years of my toddler’s life. It was so cute to see her ‘surprise’ me though and was probably the best part of the day (after getting those Triple S sneakers I’ve been dying to get my hands on since they came out, obvs).
Surprisingly for most of the day, I felt pretty good and pretty grateful.. for someone who was lower than the floor the day before. I think I just realised that the blessings around me are so much and that I should just take a moment to appreciate them every day instead of letting the dooming gloom in my chest take over sometimes. Not allowing the pressures and society’s time limit of measuring ‘success’ absolutely destroy me.
I think a lot of my anxiety and low points recently have been due to a-lot of changes I’m naturally going through as I approach the end of my 20s. Understandably if you start to change your ideals or start to question things that you’ve only ever known, you’ll panic at the possibility of change, be it good or bad or even if it’s right and essential to make those changes for the progress of your mental state and health as an evolving human being.
We’re always talking about modesty in terms of the way we dress but one thing I’ve started thinking about recently is what about the way we live, the way we consume? Take me for example, I’ve always had a bit of a shopping addiction and find myself buying clothes, accessories, eating out and generally being quite the consumer. I’m not even particularly buying good stuff if you know what I mean, not really investing in quality and longevity. More just buying anything thinking that one day I’ll wear it with the excuse of ‘blogging about it’ but then never actually getting round to it, resulting in a bunch of new unworn cheap clothing with the tags still on in my wardrobe. Fast fashion that most of the time is likely to be unethically made but on top of that been supported by me because of my frivolous spending all for the sake of feeling good in the moment.
Wasted, when there are people who could and would put that to good use. So how modest am I really if I’m constantly wasting money and owning too much? I think I’ve always felt like I’ve had to overcompensate my wearing a headscarf with always buying this many scarves, or that many accessories, or more clothing simply because of my obsession with layering or always trying to dress differently in order to express myself whilst covering my head. With the justification that I ‘needed’ it all. Anyone else?
Over the last eight weeks or so I’ve stopped buying myself clothes with the intention to start wearing what I do have more often. I’ve made space in my wardrobe and given away a lot of pieces rather than keeping things and constantly trying to make myself more space to cater for my materialistic crap. For some reason I haven’t found it hard to let go of clothes this time around, I think I’m enjoying the emptier wardrobe space instead. There’s something satisfying about it. Don’t get me wrong I still have way too much and need to declutter again and probably a few more times before making a real change to my lifestyle, it’s a long process but I think the way I’m starting to think about things is seriously making me second guess the way I’ve been living, which is a positive start. It might be hard to stick to this especially with being a fashion blogger but then maybe I need to focus more on style rather than trying to keep up with sharing trends, I’m not sure how much good that does for any of us really.
Ironically, here are some shots of me on my birthday wearing my first ever designer item. A pair of Balenciaga Triple S sneakers gifted to me by the hubby. I’ve never really been interested in designer pieces enough to invest in them myself but when I saw these I was obsessed.
Maybe I need to consider investing in quality pieces that will last longer but also hold their value. Rather than owning too much and never touching any if it. Or maybe I don’t. Maybe I need to just find a balance as with most things in life.
To be continued when I figure out what happens next.”
This is a great development in the world of modest fashion, it would be worthwhile to send Dina a positive affirmation for being mindful when so many, have not or will not. I look forward to seeing her journey to come, in more conscious consuming.
Hanan has a Masters in Media in the Middle East from SOAS University. Trainee of the Muslim Women in Media institute Annual Cohort at UC Davis, California. Her interests lie in ethical fashion, modern-day slavery, and when not making Youtube videos she is somewhere in between Ballet and Kickboxing. King Julian is her spirit animal.
By Fatima Ahdash