Hijab and Fashion Statements in Paris

Kenza Refsi, 18, furtively breaks away from a cluster of friends near her high school and with a shy smile that exposes her braces, she agrees to discuss why her teachers won’t let her dress the way she wants. It’s not that she wants to wear a thong with low-riding pants, or a nose ring, or a halter top that exposes her midriff. Those fashion statements are considered acceptable for teenage girls at Lycee Jean Jaures in Montreuil, a Paris suburb. What Refsi’s teachers forbid is a scarf that she seeks to wear to cover her head in modesty, which she believes is an obligation of her Muslim faith.