‘The sun beams through my window, casting a layer of warmth over my eyes. As I sit up and softly open them, they adjust to the light. I see my favourite outfit hung upon my wardrobe door. This morning I am off to church for 10:00am and then a visit to my family. After showering, it’s time to get dressed. I stretch my arms through the sleeves of my clean white shirt, still warm from the sunshine. I then fold my handkerchief neatly and put it into my chest pocket, ready for another Sunday looking my best.’
The concept of Sunday best goes back to the days in many Christian countries, where instead of going to work, on Sunday one would go to church. During this time, people’s wardrobes would mostly consist of their work clothes, and a single outfit worn on special occasions; making getting dressed up something to look forward to.
The idea of dressing up is something which holds significance to a multitude of different people. Whilst some would put on their best outfit to go to church, others would wear it to visit loved ones, but these outfits were always reserved for special occasions.
The clothes that we wear are a part of who we are, and a huge part of self-expression. ‘Sunday best’ whether it be for religious reasons or not, is a great opportunity for one to explore their style, even if it comes with rules.
Whether your day of worship is Sunday, Friday or mid-week, some religions have a dress code. For women this often refers to modesty, but this doesn’t have to mean that you’re not in celebration. Dressing up in a best outfit is a wonderful reminder of a day of rest, it is a day of jollification which allows the individual to be creative. In some religions, covering up in certain areas is very important, meaning that a dress code applies. Because of this, there has been huge rise in modesty wear.
Retailers such as Asos and Net A Porter have started to release ‘modesty wear’ collections with a fashionable edge. There is certainly a rise in presence, take Sabirah for example who have designed a collection of both day-wear and night-wear.
Deborah Latouche is a fashion editor with over 30 years of experience. Coming from a muslim background, Deborah felt as though the market lacked fashion options for herself, and for other women in her position. Because of this, she decided to design her own, and Sabirah was born.
The photograph below features just one of the many outfits designed by the Sabirah team, appearing in 2020 London Fashion Week.
From block-colour dresses, to sparkles, shimmer and satin; Sabirah is an all-inclusive fashion brand which welcomes a huge range of different clothing. Whether your style is more classic or out-there, Sabirah’s collection is targeted to those with religious needs, but can be worn by anyone.
What’s wonderful is the introduction of a new photography book, which celebrates the idea of dressing up. Whether it be visiting the family, church, mosque or synagogue; this book honours the idea of ‘Sunday best’ clothing, the effort behind dressing up and how beautiful people look in their best clothes.
Sunday Best is a photography book which highlights the creativity that accompanies religion in dressing up for their day of worship. The book includes an array of photographs of people from different cultures, wearing traditional clothing in order to celebrate their ‘Sunday best’ outfit. This book showcases the beauty and individuality that resides in ‘Sunday best’ clothing, which is that of self-expression.
Published on the 16th of April by Hoxton Mini Press, ‘Sunday Best‘ by Katie Waggett focuses on London and the religions that are practised within the magical city in an all inclusive documentation of religion and culture.
Similarly to ‘Sunday Best’, ‘Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah: Andy Sweet’s Summer Camp 1977’ is also a universal picture book, which focuses on summer camp in America. Whilst summer camp is rather alien to us in the UK, in the states, visiting camp for a few weeks in summer is unimaginably popular and is something that children across the country look forward to annually.
If you love ‘Sunday Best’, you will love ‘Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah: Andy Sweet’s Summer Camp 1977’. Much like the personal pictures of people in their best clothing featured in ‘Sunday best’, this photography book includes another set of somewhat personal images. Packed full of youthful photos of summer camp in the 70’s; this photography book creates a sense of nostalgia with every turn of a page.
If you enjoyed Sunday Best; The art of creativity and religion, then why not read Lartigue; The Golden Age