Because everyone at Ummahsonic is **humble brag alert** a trendsetter, influencer, early-adopter, cool, woke and so on, we have been hyping up the modest fashion train for years.
In the not-too-distant past, we’ve told you about London modest fashion festivals, Muslim men’s fashion Instagrams, next big thing Hijabi models, modest fashion bloggers and even Burka-friendly hi-viz clothing.
Unsurprisingly, mainstream brands are now catching up with the scene, meaning big names are entering the modest fashion market.
Take Harrods, for example. Over the past few years, the London shopping landmark has run promotions during Eid and Ramadan, dubbing them the “new Christmas” (from a retail perspective, that is). The high-end department store is such a destination for affluent shoppers from the Gulf in the run-up to Ramadan that the period is starting to become known as the “Harrods Hajj”.
Elsewhere, online outlets like Net-a-Porter have organised Ramadan promotions in recent years; and brands like Debenhams and Nike have released modest wear lines, with Nike’s Pro Hijab becoming a huge cultural talking point in its own right.
It’s not just the clothes, either. Muslim designers and models are becoming more visible; like Halima Aden, a Somali-American refugee who has worked for Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty line and Kanye West’s Yeezy label.
So what can account for this recent interest in Modest Fashion in the mainstream? While it definitely signals a greater acceptance of Muslim identity – especially female Muslim identity – it also represents the fashion industry’s efforts to become more inclusive. Something that, quite frankly, should have happened a long time ago.
For far too many years, fashion has presented a very restrictive view of beauty. People of different ethnicities, backgrounds and shapes have largely been ignored; meaning people of different religions have had little chance to come to the foreground of the industry.
Now, cultural shifts and changing attitudes are forcing the sector to address this problem, as is the spending power of Muslim consumers. This has led to some significant cage-rattling at a few high-profile names.
Last year, British Vogue appointed industry veteran Edward Enninful, a black man, as its new Editor. In the months since, he’s shifted the ethos of the magazine, championing designers and models and creatives of all different races and backgrounds, creating something that represents the multitudes of the culture we live in. It was a welcome change for a publication that only had two solo black models on its cover over the course of a decade.
We know that modest fashion is going to continue to make an impression on the mainstream. While part of us hopes there will be a day when it’s no longer considered a ‘category’ in its own right, another part wishes it will stay apart.
After all, it represents our identity and faith, not to mention a resilience to stay true to our values when almost every other force in the fashion industry was pushing against modest wear and everything it stands for.