Modest Fashion Episode: Shumss & Everything You Need to Know about Fashion in Maldives

What do you have in mind when you hear the word “Maldives” ? I bet you think about the tropical islands, resorts and neverending holiday. Well, for this Modest Fashion Episode, I will introduce you to Shamma or known as Shumss- the famous bridal hijab stylist from Male- Maldives. She will tell us the things that you have to know about the country, the fashion and the hijabi world!

I wonder how is the hijabi community in Maldives? Are u close to each other?

Well... Not really ... Most of the women here cover their hair and a lot of them now wear gowns/abayas. The hijabi community here likes to be distinctive and find out new styles. When I started my hijab styling business back in 2011 A lot of girls were afraid to try out new styles. But now more girls are trying out new hijab styles and hijab friendly outfits, designers are giving more importance to hijabi outfits. We see more hijabi models on local fashion shows compared to a few years ago

How did u start to influence the girls to change?

Well I started with blogging , I used to be a teacher for kids with special needs and I had difficulty choosing outfits for work. So I started browsing hijab fashion blogs and then I started one of my own. I've been blogging since 2009. My business partner Niuma and I used to exchange hijab tutorials and make tutorials of our own for my blog

And the girls started to follow you after that?

Well the "hijab" is a sensitive issue here. People take hijabi only gatherings quite differently.

I worked on an abaya fashion show for ladies only during 2013 and the general public didn't like the fact that it was a fashion show. Especially men, who kept saying hijab is not a fashion , which is true , it's not a fashion only. It's a lifestyle. But women who wear hijab need options right? Ideas on how to dress, right?

The ladies gave a lot of appreciation to the work we did during the show, lots of girls mailed me saying they would like to wear the abaya more after attending. I think the concept of an all ladies gathering and women who cover having options to dress is relatively new here

The abayas were your designs?

Not my designs , they were designed for a store here by someone else. Me n my team did the hijab styling

Did you do another fashion shows after that?

I suppose we need more hijabi women to take a lead and make a stand and hold more events heheh. Well I haven't worked in another fashion show after that. I've worked in photoshoots many times though for my own look books. We release a new set of hijab styled every year :)

So actually how is fashion industry there? Do u have lots of shop n choices for fashion?

We do have a lot of stores dedicated to fashion. Yes bridal industry is the strongest and there is demand for more. Especially hijab friendly bridal wear. However most of the shops stock the same styles of clothes especially for hijabis. What I'd like to see is more options/choices for women who covered.

Are the modest clothings in Maldives mostly created by the local designers?

Mostly the everyday hijabi wear is imported from Malaysia or Indonesia but our designers do design hijab friendly wear now. More than what they fed before. For your information, there are quite a lot of designers in Maldives.

What about the fashion events?

We do have a designers week and a bride show every year. Mostly it's outfits for girls not in hijab but now designers have one or two hijabi outfits in each collection.

Maldives is consists of islands.. so which island is major place for fashion?

Well almost everything happens in Male- capital city of Maldives. All the events are held here and most designers and the shops are here

I wonder, the bridal industry is good in Maldives because so many tourists are having their wedding there?

Yeah that's true but tourists have weddings mostly in the resort islands. So far I've worked on more than 2000 Bridals since I started. All Maldivians

Wohh. Thats much. So u you do like 3 wedding in a day?

My maximum limit is three. Today it's four because something came up suddenly.

Do you do weddings abroad too? Tell me more about your team...

We make ready to wear bridal hijabs for international clients and clients in other islands of Maldives. Actually my team consists of me and my partner Niuma. Niuma does all the sewing of our ready to wear hijabs. And I design and make the Accessories

What is ready to wear bridal hijabs?

For brides in male' we go for on the spot hijab styling where we styled the hijabs on the spot like hair styling. We create ready to wear hijab for customers who live far from us. It sells good , we've shipped internationally too to USA UK and parts of Europe and Africa. However we are still designing to sew it in new ways so that it looks like it has been styled on the spot while wearing

So what makes your customer like about your service?

Well , we meet or talk to each client separately , all our ready to wear pieces are made on order and customised according to the client's wishes . We meet our on the spot clients separately and have trials before the wedding day. We work on a very personal level with each client and that reassures our clients especially brides. They feel comforted and trust us to do a good job with their hijab on the wedding day. I think that's what makes our customers like our service :)

Shamma partnered with Niuma in a team named Shumsie’s Bridal Hijabs. Her service includes hijab styling, selling ready to wear bridal hijabs and bridal accessories.

Stalk her on:

Facebook Page:

Personal Blog:

Instagram:@ Shumss