Fashion and function

In New York’s Hasidic boutiques, modesty-enhancing items fly off the shelves

Women wear clothes made by Junee. (Facebook)

Fashion boutiques in Brooklyn’s Hasidic neighborhoods have seen modesty-enhancing products flying off the shelves in recent years, as the communities have doubled down on dressing conservatively as a way of distinguishing their religious identity.  The community’s tight restrictions on how much skin and hair can be seen in public have led stores like Junee, Tip Top, and other boutiques in Borough Park, Brooklyn, to offer modesty-enhancing undershirts, hem-extenders, and dickeys, alongside felt dots that are taped to the underside of shoes to muffle the clacking sound they make on floors.

The products have coincided with a resurgence in dedication to modesty, or tznius, in recent years, which The New York Times says has been driven by encroachment on Hasidic communities by the secular world. As the conservative Jewish communities have put more emphasis on modest dressing, more shops have opened to fill the demand of women trying to meet their religious obligations.

“You’re promoting fashion and religion at the same time; you’ve got everything,” Ann D. Braude, the director of the women’s studies in religion program at Harvard Divinity School, told the Times. “You’re promoting internal virtue and external appearance and profit. It’s really a kind of a business for all seasons.”

Read the full story at The New York Times.


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