Recently, Mimi Hecht and Mushky Notik, co-owners of Brooklyn-based modest clothing boutique Mimu Maxi posted a photo of one of their customers looking lovely in their signature design, a lime-green "skirt legging" — cue the screenful of Likes, right? Actually, no. The photo you see here kicked off a controversy — and a pretty badass response from Hecht and Notik.
The Village Voice reports that the sisters-in-law are Orthodox Jews who started Mimu Maxi because they were sick of "sigh[ing] at the lack of modest-yet-fashionable clothing options" available to them. Of course, the line also appeals to non-Orthodox women who wear modest clothing for religious reasons — like Summer Albarcha, who runs the popular Hipster Hijabis Instagram, dedicated to showcasing Muslim women sporting "trendy yet modest fashion."
It was Albarcha's own OOTD, in which she looks stellar in her MM skirt, slouchy shirt and hijab, that Mimu Maxi re-posted it to its Facebook page and Instagram. Sadly, many of Mimu Maxi's Orthodox customers responded angrily, claiming that a photo of a hijabi woman was "insensitive" and "appalling" given the recent violence between Israel and Palestine. One customer expressed the sentiments of many when she wrote that, while there was "nothing wrong" with the photo itself, it was inappropriate to post "in a time when our brothers need our support." Other customers called for a boycott of Mimu Maxi, the Voice reports.
Hecht and Notik took to the brand's Facebook page in response to express unequivocal support for their decision, and for Albarcha, stating that Albarcha's outfit was "modest, feminine, and beautiful," that she "shares some of our deepest values," and that "any Jewish support of modesty in the world at large should be promoted [and] encouraged" — especially now, they added pointedly.
Albarcha told the Village Voice that the comments "were not discouraging at all, but rather empowered me." Happily, she also gained a number of new Jewish followers who are excited about her coverage of hijabi fashion, while many of Mimu Maxi's followers wrote that they actually purchased the skirt as a result of Albarcha's photo. Click over to Village Voice to read more of her reaction and the sisters-in-law's reply. Seeing Albarcha, Hecht, and Notik united in their shared values, despite the conflict in the Middle East and reaction of some customers is truly heartening. (Village Voice)
Want to see modest fashion in action? Watch our video of Mimi Hecht and Mushky Notik of Mimu Maxi talk about how the pursuit of spirituality and personal style go hand-in-hand.