Modest fashion has taken the fashion industry by a storm. The year 2017 has brought a new sensation in women’s wardrobes. In the month of April, twice was the “modest fashion” week held in London. Even Instagram is flooded with people promoting this revolutionary wear. Modest clothing is spreading like a wildfire in social media in the form of hash tags and celebrity attires. Words like modest style, modest dressing, and modesty movement are already become a trend.
The vibrant colours, flowing lines and covered hair have been inspired from the Asian, Arab, and African heritage. Modest clothing was predominantly associated to Muslim women, but a detailed research would show that it had been a part of many faiths since generations and has nothing to do with a single community. Dressing modestly to comply with the religious traditions has been a part of the Mormons, Catholics, Orthodox Jews, and Conservative Protestants as well. The momentum of modest dressing as a trend setter has varied reasons of origin. The rise may have been instigated majorly by religious sentiments, but many people also prefer to not expose too much of skin yet remain fashionable regardless of religion and weather.
Zahra Aljabri, an ex-lawyer and co-founder of Modes-sty says, “It takes intestinal fortitude to go against the culture,” who has been designing affordable clothes featuring higher necklines, hemlines reaching the ground, and longer sleeves in her online boutique of modest-fashion. Aljabri and an entire community of modest-fashion designers, retailers, and bloggers are trying to bring a change by introducing what modest fans will feel happy wearing.
This revolution aims to bring a balance between faith and fashion. With dedicated promotions in the social media, people who aren’t religious have started seeing the appeal in dressing modestly. “People are seeing that covering up can be super-fashionable,” comments Hecht. “It doesn’t mean dowdy or your fifth-grade teacher or dressing biblically.”
Modest wear has percolated into the fashion industry since a few years and the hijab has gained significant amount of spotlight. Famous designer brands have been promoting the modest-fashion in fashion industry. Dolce & Gabbana set loose a collection of luxury abayas and hijabs in the year 2016. DKNY also released their modest fashion collection in 2014. In 2016, H&M also worked in the same line to flaunt its modest-fashion statement by featuring a Muslim model with a hijab in one of their sensational videos. Halima Aden was the first beauty pageant contestant to ever wear a hijab at a prestigious event like the Miss Minnesota USA competition held in the year 2016.
Iza Dezon, a popular trend forecaster at the Peclers Paris calls it the “pluri-empowerment” which is a new dimension of feminism. She further elaborates by saying, “An empowered woman is no longer subject to a specific definition, nor must she live by a specific set of values. We’re seeing the opening up of what empowerment means, allowing women to create their own definitions.”
This revolution aims to remove the oppressive beauty standards. However, there might be a change in the accepted norms, but not utter removal of the norms. Some may also label it as sexism and another segment of patriarchy. Regardless, modest dressing has been able to create an impact in the industry and intends to flourish more.