You are probably asking what in the world is "musl(I'M)a anti-Bad Fashion" If you guessed a clashing color outfit. In some part, you may be right, but in this case it is an initiative to bring awareness of a serious problem occurring within the Muslim community and its women. I am talking about the sale and purchase and not limited to replica of abaya designs, scarves and bags. This initiative it to give us basic educational information, help us make better business and consumer decisions but above all help us in our religious path towards Allah SWT and gain his pleasure.
Where does bad fashion start?
Without getting too technical, it starts in a cotton field with the number of pesticides used and the bad human treatment of field workers, in the bad treatment of sheep by humans for their wool, and in the labs of man made fabrics and the fumes released. This part as a consumer we have little control, but we definitely have control over who we buy from. It then continues when yarn is turned into fabric and dyed with colors and treated with harmful chemicals for better functionality. Some of these chemicals are released into the environment and affect both the environment and the health of the people.
What does design have to do with this?
Bad fashion then continues in clothing manufacturing places where workers are not paid sometimes or paid very little. Their work environment is not always the safest. Pattern designs, logos and complete clothing designs are then copied and manufactured by these same people that are mistreated through their underpay and unhealthy working enviroment conditions. In order to produce products at a very low price, the above has to happen along with the choice of unhealthiest quality resources of fabric, machinery and warehouses. The worst part is when big labels do the above and sell their products at an inflated price. This is where you as a consumer gets taken advantage of. These decisions are then passed to the wholesalers, to your local shop owner and ends with you. We will not get into the fact that a lot of the clothes we wear are not biodegradable. So that adds to the landfills and our environment.
How does this become an infringement against designs, according to Islam and man law?
To keep it simple, Copyright Law states that all photography is copyrighted the minute the shutter is released and protects the creator's intellectual rights against someone using it to make money. This is where Facebook pages and sites that use the photography that belongs to designers to sell replica abayas(overgarments) and the consumers who buy from them are breaking a Federal Law. Under the Fair Use, media may use photography for commenting reasons. Although, there are not laws that protect a design completely because it is considered utilitarian, patterns are indeed protected. Under the laws of intellectual property in Islam, we find that the rights of a creator must be respected and are also protected, even after her/his death and shouldn't be taken without the permission. Of course this is a general guideline. Some scholars are in the opinion that one copy can be made for oneself. Islam also goes into telling us that if a design is made similar and a different tag name is used and it's clear to the consumer they are not buying into something that is misleading, it is to be considered ok. Otherwise it would be a form of deceiving, cheating and stealing to sell a design you made pass as an original of another design and/or to put a label that you have no illectual rights to. But, remember the key here is 'similar', which means it is not the exact same design. In addition, the use of some intellectual property without permission may be used to aid certain people in an economic level, if only there is need as the example of spreading knowledge. These are some examples and every situation and location has its own circumstances. This is why a business owner should put extreme care and consult with their local scholar.
The same applies to trademarks and tradenames under Islamic intellectual rights. They are to protected under Islamic law because they have monetary value and it transgresses against its owners and it takes their money unlawfully, when we take it from them their work without permission or misuse it. As far as man law, tradenames and trademarks can get a bit complicated. They maybe spoofed for commentary reasons, but a person can get in trouble if its slandering the label. Another way to get in trouble with spoofing tradenames and logos is by excessively borrowing from the originial design that it confuses a person causing some close examination to be done and are used to make money.
What does this all have to do with me?
After the shop owner inherits all the bad fashion decisions and you buy from this owner, you then have become part of their circle of bad decisions and share the responsibility. If you are fully aware of all that happens behind a certain label or shop, you may be held accountable by Allah SWT. It is better to stay safe and away from such practices.
What can you do to aid this situation?
You can definitely support this cause by sharing this information. The first step is to become aware. It is our duty right as Muslims to share knowledge and help each other in our religious path. You can also start by researching where, how and from what are the clothes you buy made of. Start shopping at places that are fashion conscious. Special wash you clothes to get rid of the fabric chemicals. The changes can be many, but small ones are a great start! Even if its buying a fashion conscious scarf or to simply stay away from these practices by not buying from such stores. The best way to purify our actions is by replacing them with good ones.
Here are two articles that can help a bit further understanding our concept of Musl(I'M)a anti-Bad Fashion:
Thank you for your support!
*Whatever I said wrong is from me and what I said right is from Allah(God) SWT.
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