Over the past few years, the term minimalism has been flung far and wide in every fashion and lifestyle source and used as inspiration in many ways. This it word is incorporated into fashion, beauty, interior design, lifestyle and even food. However, in a very particular way. The popular aesthetic surrounding minimalism seems to be a toned down colour scale of black, white, and neutrals. And while I am an advocate of these colours (making about 70% of my wardrobe), I have to profess that it can be somehow overdone when minimalism is dictated as only in this form. As a lifestyle, I very much respect and understand the ideals of minimalism and the beauty of possessing a few things that spark joy as opposed to a larger number of things that are usually not accounted for. An idea which I believe truly resonates with Islamic beliefs and practices.
However, discrediting people with colourful tastes that do not fit into the grey scale and trendy form of minimalism can be, quite frankly, unaligned with many cultures. My Nigerian heritage in particular, which is full of colour, bold prints, matched with flamboyant headpieces and jewellery to top it off, popular across many tribes in the country. In addition, for a lot of people, minimalism stems from financial and social difficulties of simply not having enough, and are thus forced to get by with the very basic needs. Or even in some dire conditions, almost nothing at all. Poverty really is the bane of the existence of many.
Essentially, it is okay to have a wardrobe that looks like the amalgamation of the rainbow and every hippie tie-dye shirt and still hold minimalist beliefs. As long as each and every pair defines necessities that spark joy for the individual in self-expression. Personally, I certainly am not explicitly a minimalist or maximalist (some of us are too eccentric and complex to categorise), and while I tend to tread more along minimalist lines, it would be exceptionally hypocritical of me to adopt and sustain this grey scale narrative of minimalism that contradicts the visuality of my cultural heritage. So these two outfit combinations go out to all my colourful creatures that can’t seem to rule out colour from their closets.
Photography: Muhammed Umar
Styling: Aisha Umar