Constructing Cool: Modesty, Mipsterz’ Visual Culture and the Self-Fashioning of a Transnational Muslim Digital Diaspora


  • Nancy Demerdash Albion College Author



Islam, Mipsterz, hipster, fashion, performativity


This article examines the visual culture and fashion aesthetics of “Mipsterz,” or Muslim hipsters. Though the term originated amongst a group of friends based in New York in 2012, the neologism has arguably taken on a global life in fashion blogs and social media, with influencers from Turkey to Indonesia connecting transnationally. Many public debates celebrate these young, alternative voices and their projected self-images, while others critique the manner in which the ‘hipster’ label sanitizes, whitewashes, or secularizes Muslim piety. Indeed, these youths’ discourse highlight issues of performance, assimilation, normalization, and the dialectical construction of collective identity and individual subjectivity, yielding even greater interdisciplinary questions. Sitting at the theoretical nexus of cultural, fashion, and media studies, this article analyzes the ways in which such digital platforms not only give faith and fashion form, but it critiques the aesthetic, photographic, and performative mechanisms through which new sartorial politics are visualized.

Author Biography

  • Nancy Demerdash, Albion College

    Nancy Demerdash is Assistant Professor of Art History at Albion College where she teaches an array of courses in art history and visual culture. She earned her doctorate from the Department of Art & Archaeology at Princeton University, and a Master of Science in Architecture Studies (S.M.Arch.S.) from the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture at MIT. From 2016–2021, she served as Assistant Editor for the International Journal of Islamic Architecture. Her work has appeared in numerous edited volumes and academic journals such as Perspective: actualité en histoire de l'art, Journal of North African Studies, Journal of Arabian Studies, Journal of the African Literature Association, and Textile Museum Journal, among others. She is currently preparing her book manuscript about the intersections of decolonization and development in postwar modernist architecture and urbanism of Tunisia.


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