Modest fashion has, in recent years, seen a steady rise in popularity amongst a diverse group of people, and not only those choosing to wear this type of fashion for religious or cultural reasons. The rise of bloggers and social media influencers has led to a broader reach amongst young people of all different backgrounds, looking to wear a more modest aesthetic. Many of these influencers have been young Muslim women, whose beginnings as You Tubers saw them demonstrating the various ways to style a hijab. They’ve now grown into full-fledged style influencers, detailing how brilliantly they can layer all manner of stylish threads.
Modest fashion can be interpreted in a number of different ways. However, simply put, it describes clothing that conceals, rather than accentuates the body. Although modest fashion has been gaining momentum for the best part of a decade, it is only in the last couple of years that this trend has begun to make such global impact. Pinterest UK reports that searches for modest fashion are up 500% since the beginning of 2019. Whilst the State of the Global Islamic Economy predicts that the market could be worth £226 billion by 2020. There’s no denying that the potential in revenue has spurred on many companies to offer collections based on modest fashion.
Only in the last month, ASOS, one of the largest online fashion retailers, released a ‘modest’ clothing line, including hijabs and abayas, as well as long-sleeved maxi dresses and oversized shirts. These items are in no way designed to make you hide or blend in, as the description of modest fashion would lead some to believe. Instead, the collection features on-trend prints and bright neon’s. Earlier still, last year H&M created their first modest fashion line, the LTD Collection, which also included bright shades and chic designs. At the time, H&M’s Head of Design highlighted the company’s need to reach out to a wider audience. But it also highlighted a bigger issue. Modest fashion news and clothing has, for the most part, been focused on women, with little reference to men, something which H&M was criticised for, at the time.
The Qur’an states that Muslim men should cover from their naval to their knees. Yet, modest menswear has been largely left out of the equation until recently. There seems to be a misconception that women are the individuals who must or choose to cover up, therefore all manner of trends are open to men. Yet, if we take one of the biggest trends to grace the fashion pages these last couple of years, the ripped jean, and take into consideration the requirement to cover to the knees, then we can quickly recognise that only through clever design and styling is this look attainable for modest dressers. As well as offering others new ways to style the ripped jean trend.
To highlight further the progress being made within male modest fashion, London Modest Fashion Week, which has been held since 2017, has this year, for the first time, introduced menswear on the agenda. And whilst, Muslim female influencers still dominate, there has also been a steady rise in male influencers within the modest fashion world, some of whom are married to already popular social media stars and are finding their own feet as trendsetters. Ascia Al Faraj is considered one of the Middle East’s most influential bloggers and influencers. She is also married to Ahmad Al-Balooshi, who through his association with his wife, has become a well-known influencer in his own right. Although his 236k followers doesn’t match up to Ascia’s 2.6m, his following still shows a steady increase in popularity amongst men interested in dressing modestly.
Ascia & Ahmad
Ascia Al Farad
Muslims are currently taking part in Ramadan, and, although modest fashion, due to its hijabi heritage, is centrally linked to the Islamic faith, as well as other religions, there is an obvious growing want and need for clothing amongst people of all backgrounds that isn’t solely reliant on baring parts of the body. As a Western nation, we have been perpetually embroiled in the promotion of female flesh to be displayed, celebrated and lusted after. Therefore, it is refreshing to discover that not all clothing and trends must be aimed at this western ideal, whatever your culture or background. But instead there are other ways to dress, whatever your age or shape.
And it’s also important not to exclude men from this narrative, so, although it’s a little behind the times, it is great to see designers and brands broadening out their choices for men, and inviting new styles into their designs for an ever broadening customer base.
About Our Author: Katie Calvert's background is in fashion and textiles with a first class honours degree in Fashion Communication and Promotion and experience in trend, PR and events. She decided to take the plunge back into education in 2015 to complete a Master of Arts in Multimedia Journalism. Using these newfound skills and her love of fashion and culture, Katie has been freelance writing for over a year.