Once upon a time you might have pictured a black abaya or an ill-fitting woolly cardigan when someone used the term “modest fashion”, but this is now one of the fastest growing areas of the industry.
Among young women, modest fashion has become a hot topic, taking the Instagram world with by storm. Defying commonly held perceptions of Muslim fashion, often perpetuated by stock photos used in news articles and mainstream channels, Instagram bloggers (and YouTubers) have been showing individuality, nifty fashion ideas and bags of style.
From @themodestbride to @inayahc the modest fashion world encompasses everything from hijabi requirements, in all their interpretations, to the preferences of women from other faiths and backgrounds, who have also taken to wearing clothes that are at the less revealing end of the spectrum.
Here are six of the coolest and most colourful Instagram fashion bloggers, who are both setting the trends and changing them!
Britain-based Amena releases beauty and lifestyle videos twice a week on YouTube which are a mix of fashion tutorials and Islamic musings. She runs her own brand called Pearl Daisy and recently launched a cosmetics brand called Ardere Cosmetics. Her career turning point was when she created the ‘Hoojab’, a hooded scarf, which forms her signature look. Resoundingly successful, she also knows how to have fun, sometimes producing comical videos with her husband!
Aaliyah Sade @theaaliyahsade
Urban, sporty and hipster, Aaliyah Sade’s style screams effortless confidence. This American chick pairs sunglasses, hats and caps with her modestly styled outfits. She also started a blog called #BossMuslimahs, which features photo diaries and interviews from Muslim women just as cool as she is.
Dina Tokio @dinatokio
With almost a million followers on Instagram, Dina Torkia (or Tokio as she likes to be known) is a half-English half-Egyptian fashion blogger who grew up between London and Cardiff. After making the choice not to formally study design, she became a stylist through her own means and is currently setting up her own ready-to-wear line. A superbly cosmopolitan Muslim woman, she also presented a BBC Three documentary on beauty pageants in Indonesia.
Kendyl Noor Aurora @auroraisnthome
This 21-year-old beauty is oozing with gothic hipster sass. A convert to Islam, she wears her past proudly and brings it to the future, pairing her monochrome styles and often dark lipsticks. Born in the USA to a Moroccan mother and British father, Kendyl says that wearing the hijab makes her feel confident. She is a model and YouTuber.
Sagal Ibrahim Shire @sagaleeyaa
Sagal is a UK-based Somali blogger obsessed with headwraps! She loves arts and culture, fusing her fashion ideas with unique artistic spaces. She pairs African aesthetics with glamorous Hollywood styles – producing nothing but the “wow” factor.
Sobi Masood @sobi1canobi
With some real fashion history on her side, Sobi is studying at New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology, where she mixes urban street pieces with classic fashion staples. She loves adding a dash of leather, dark sunglasses and a black headscarf. She says: “Islam doesn’t tell us exactly what outfit to wear, or what colours to wear or what headpiece to wear. It gives us a certain guideline. Every Muslim woman has the right to interpret it the way they want to.”
So it’s no doubt that modest fashion is making its mark far and wide. These women show how they have been able to reconcile their various identities and fashion tastes, producing some pioneering Instagram accounts. Don’t forget to check out this week’s podcast where we interview Muslim fashion model, Gulzeab Beg Ali