In the first quarter of 2017, we have seen modest fashion gaining great momentum with top luxury brands such as Dolce & Gabbana, Debenhams and Nike taking big steps into this new market. With modest fashion now making its way into the mainstream, the fashion world is transitioning into an era of empowerment for women.
What do we mean by modest fashion? Interpretations differ but it is widely agreed that modest fashion is simply a personal choice of styling by remaining fully covered. While modest dressing is predominantly followed by Muslim woman, it is also seen to be adopted by women of different faiths and cultures. It is no longer associated only with practicing Islam rather it is now seen to be more open to anyone who would like to express their fashion sense and values in a modest style with sensitive layering, longer hemlines or higher collars.
Fashion brands all over the world seem to be embracing the view that style does not necessarily entail revealing a lot of flesh! The focus of brands has swung to styling clothes cut to conceal rather than reveal. “International brands have picked up on this trend and have created collections catering to the modest woman – brands such as DKNY, Tommy Hilfiger, Oscar de la Renta, Monique Lhuillier, Zara, Mango, Uniqlo,” says Bong Guerrero, the chief executive of the Dubai style platform Fashion Forward.
Modest fashion appears to be growing fast and a surge of interest from the global fashion world is seen with UK hosting Modest Fashion Week for the first time ever as part of London Fashion Week. This featured more than 40 labels that came everywhere from UK to Saudi Arabia, showcasing hijab styles to maxi dresses. There are several fashion brands that have been promoting their investment in this growing sector- for example, Nike introducing its pro hijab line for Muslim female athletes in early March, H&M featuring Mariah Idrissi, a Muslim model wearing hijab to promote its line of sustainable fashion and Dolce & Gabbana introducing a modest line of collection including luxury abayas and hijabs.
Modest fashion has been a booming global industry for many years. It first started gaining attention over social media, owing to the millennial Muslim bloggers who have built huge communities online through their hijab posts, tutorials and mainly fashion posts on the art of layering clothes to create modest yet chic and trendy styles. Fashion influencers like Dina Tokio, Hana Tajima and Leena Asad are a few top names in this market who have gained popularity among the young Muslim consumers who seek modest yet trendy clothing. These modest bloggers, influencers and designers have also been able to catch the attention of mainstream fashion brands, who are eager to target this growing market.
According to a report by Pew research, the Muslim population is close to reaching 2 billion of global population and is projected to become 30% of the global population by 2030. Further studies reveal that more than 50% of world’s Muslim population is under 25 and have spending power. Brands in the UK are only now beginning to realize the potential of this huge untapped market and the buying power of Muslim consumers.
The State of the Global Islamic Economy report by Thomson Reuters estimates “Muslim populations globally to have spent a total of $243 billion on clothing in 2015, 11 % of the global market spend of $2.2 trillion. This is a growth of 5.7 percent from the previous year, and is higher than the global market growth of 3.5 percent.”
Modest fashion presents an exciting opportunity for Middle East designers to be recognized globally. The report shows UAE leading the 2016 rankings for having developed the best ecosystem for Modest Fashion, followed by Turkey, China and India. With the growing spending power of Muslim consumers, the women in the Middle East are the top target market for mass retailers and luxury brands. Looking forward, modest fashion is estimated to be worth $368 billion by 2020 indicating a thriving expanding market
Olivia Roberts – Head of Retail (Middle East) says:
“This is a fascinating new trend we are seeing in the retail industry globally. The sheer size of the market for modest fashion is huge and we now see leading high-street sports, luxury brands and retailers including modest ranges in their collection.
In Dubai, a new e-commerce player has entered the market- TheModist, a luxury style destination for online shopping dedicated to modest dressing. The website is elegantly designed with a real clean fashion forward feel and excellent UX/UI. They are stocking a lot of luxury contemporary designers such as Phillip Lim, Christopher Kane and Mary Katrantzou as well as creating a movement in modest contemporary fashion that’s celebrating women’s style choices.”
Image Courtesy: The Modist