The Modest fashion industry has risen to the surface from the collective effort of women around the globe who love to dress modestly. These women took over the fashion narrative by storm via the internet, showing how wearing longer and more loose styles can be so Divine. They have made their statement in fashion - that is, choosing to cover is not being oppressed but it’s stylish and classy. ..
The modest wear industry started from a woman’s personal need to wear modest styles, which are often expressed through social media to inspire their friends who also love to dress modestly and stylisghly. The love of covering has then transformed to a multi billion dollar business by designers and brands around the globe- offline and online.
A Localized Market
Modest fashion has been considered a community business. There were no big brands serving this market when it first started. There were no global brands, media, events, or global trends of modest fashion. That is why modest fashion didn’t “speak the same language” and varied from region to region as women’s interpretations and personal taste did. Modest fashion has become diverse in terms of style; what’s considered cool in one country is not necessarily cool in another country. The “cool” is localized. Culture plays a big role here but often the fusion inclination begins to seep through. We can find brighter colors in an outfit in South Asia & Southeast Asia and more calm colors in Western regions. This includes the styling of the scarves, each region tends to have their own preffered scarves styles and later the internet has ease the women to inspire across borders hence making this network of styling something magnificent.
Modest fashion also has its own set of challenges. While the mainstream fashion society can appreciate unique couture or high-end fashion, some modest fashion communities do tend to appreciate styles that are relatable for their daily lives. Yes, to these women, fashion equal to function. In western countries- where modest fashion items is harder to find, Women tend to look source of inspiration for their modest look online.
In the past, covered women did not have enough alternative (products) to dress modestly according to their personality. Most of the products in the past are neither stylish or “functionable” enough. Covered women is basically having the same needs with regular women. They want to function properly and express themselves while wearing modest clothes. Popular instagram accounts like @ hijabfashion, @hijabmuslim and @alahijabofficial serve as style inspiration for this group. Of course also noting the important figures like @dinatokio, @ascia_akf and many more. These inspirations has inspire many of modest fashion designers and brands to provide the products that the market needs. Now covered women can go to office, malls, sportscenter, special events wearing the clothes that suits their personality well. Modest fashion has went through its own transformation of style.
Modest fashion is growing in many countries, including places like Brunei, Darussalam and Nigeria. In terms of innovation and exposure, Indonesia and Malaysia are one of the leading countries in this sector. Both governments are actively supporting many initiatives to promote their local modest fashion talents. Indonesian designers are now becoming regulars in many international events, including mainstream events such as Couture New York Fashion Week, Cannes Film Festival, and London Fashion Week. Malaysian designers are more actively participating in community events such as Halal Expo. While Southeast Asians go to many countries to promote their designs, designers from European/ Western countries are being discovered everywhere due to their accessibility and available platforms. Brands such as Modanisa.com is among the strongest European brand on the scene and has been featured in major media around the globe. The unique facts are most European/ Western brands are focused on selling, while Southeast Asians are mostly about branding. Southeast Asians tend to be the whistleblowers who validate modest fashion to the mainstream community, while the others work as suppliers of modest fashion to the market. Turkey has been emerging as one of the important modest fashion suppliers into the market. Their first influential event was Istanbul Modest Fashion Week (istanbulmodest.com). It gathered modest fashion actors around the world and gained wide coverage in 5 Continents. Thus, making modest fashion more and more recognize globally.
The Mainstream Player
According to Global State of Islamic Economy Report by Thomson Reuters and Dinar Standard, Muslims spent £185 billion on clothing and footwear in 2013 globally. That tops the total fashion spend of Japan and Italy combined. In the UK alone, the State of the Global Islamic Economy 2013 report estimates the Muslim fashion market to be worth £100m and is expected to double by 2018. The rising trends and the major spending power of modest fashion, has made the giant brands interested to also tap into the market. Dolce & Gabbana has launched 2 collections consist of luxury hijabs and abayas. Other labels such as DKNY, Oscar de la Renta, Tommy Hilfiger and Mango have produced seasonal collections for Eid and Ramadan. The famous brand Uniqlo teamed up with famous blogger & designer Hana Tajima and launch their collections globally. With lots of untapped opportunity, this believed to be followed by other big brands worldwide.
With all the highlight goes to Modest Fashion, the market is indeed start from the community. Having its own emotional engagement with their customers, modest fashion brands and designers always need their own global platform. The platform that can promote their products to higher level with better distribution. As the e-commerce that serves to 80 countries and backed by professional team, Modanisa.com has been emerging as one of the global platform for this sector- providing more than 300 brands on the site.With its rapid expansion worldwide- Modanisa is the perfect example of modest fashion business that is born from the community for the community. Istanbul Modest Fashion Week also has settled its positioning to be the important representation of modest fashion globally. Giving the chance for modest fashion actors to be recognize in new markets.
To grow better- the industry needs more than huge numbers of designers and brands, most importantly professional supporting elements from e-commerce, events to media.
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Picture courtesy of Bostonherald.com