Last month Ann Arbor lost one of its smallest resale shops, Woman in the Shoe, but nearby an even smaller and more discriminating resale shop opened. Modest Intentions is part of the newly formed Muslim Social Services, a nonprofit run by Elizabeth Lindsey.
“Modest” certainly could describe the size (a half dozen racks and a few tables and shelves), or the hours (Sunday afternoons), but it best describes the clothing itself. “Especially for women who are just converting to Islam, it’s horrendously expensive to buy a whole new wardrobe,” says Lindsey, who knows. She converted in 2000. (“I was a Catholic, and I had trouble with the idea of original sin. I began reading about other faiths.”)
Lindsey explains: “The purpose behind hijab–which means ‘to cover’ or ‘to conceal’–is that it’s important that people remember our deeds, our actions, and our brains. We do not want to be judged on the attractiveness of our bodies. Muslims are the original feminists.”
“Hijab” is open to interpretation, she says, but it generally means long, loose-fitting clothing, and that’s what’s for sale at Modest Intentions. Lindsey herself was wearing a long flowered skirt and a knee-length black jacket, and her head was swathed in a white scarf.
While a few of the racks of clothing are long-sleeved blouses and blazers that might be found in any thrift shop, most of the clothing is distinctly exotic: long dresses and skirts, salwar kameez, a few niqabs, and an entire wall of head scarves, sorted by color.
Lindsey emphasizes that anyone is welcome to shop here. “Women of all faiths might be looking for more modest clothing.”
Modest Intentions, 3090 Platt Rd. 369-2783. Sun. noon-4 p.m. (or by appointment). www.muslimsocialservices.com