Religion and fashion – Gegen die Wand

I saw this interesting quote by Herman Hesse on my google page today. 

If you hate a person, you hate something in him that is part of yourself. What isn’t part of ourselves doesn’t disturb us.

And there was an interesting discussion about religion and fashion in Turkey on BBC’s This World programme yesterday. Well, I say it was an interesting discussion, but I was only waiting for the shots of scantily-clad women strutting up and down the catwalk.

Turkey is quite unusual in being at once both secular and striving to join Europe while also retaining strictly conservative elements. I guess I should not comment without going there. But this dichotomy was reflected in the predictions of two entrepreneurs in the garment industry with very different personal beliefs which in turn coloured their business strategy.

One was pious, religious, and predicted a return to Islamic values in Turkish society and to profit from this he had built a new factory to produce garments (including full-length swimwear for ladies) that confirmed to religious standards, or what he interpreted those standards to be anyway.

The other was a young, modern Turk who had inherited a well-known lingerie company and, facing immense price competition from China and Hong Kong, decided to go upmarket with quality goods. He was counting on European attitudes towards undergarments catching on and increasing his sales.

It was a thought-provoking insight into the two sides of Turkey today. I am reminded of a beautiful and powerful German-Turkish film I saw called “Gegen die Wand” which brought up many of the same issues and in which you saw Turkish people trying to come to terms with this same split, as well as other issues.

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  1. The quote has been talked about by many people. I often think it is true 🙂

  2. I often think it is true to certain extent


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