As many people may have noticed, when it comes to Muslim fashion, modesty is always prioritized. Many Muslims strongly believe that there is beauty in everything, including modesty. But, what is modesty? Modesty is a huge part of a Muslim women’s identity and they often curate their daily outfits around it. Modesty means wearing clothes that reveal less skin because there is beauty in modest appearances as well. Unfortunately, there aren’t many fashion communities or brands that cater to a Muslim women choice of style or even modest clothing, in general. This leaves many women to create or come up with their own outfits. This often includes putting together whatever they have in their closet in order to achieve the level of modesty that they individually desire.
Fortunately, in many social media platforms, there has been a rise of Muslim influencers that are distinctly educating the world about Muslim fashion. Not only that, but they are also helping the younger generation stay in touch with the latest fashion trends while simultaneously remaining true to their beliefs. For example, the silk satin slip-on dress had been a popular trend around the early months of 2020. But because of the exposed chest and arms, Muslim women couldn’t really wear the dress without some type of cover up, which ruins the beauty of the dress itself. Muslim influencers, noticing the struggle, took their own approach on the trend and styled the dress in a way that Muslim women can wear it without ruining the beauty of the dress while keeping the look modest.
Additionally, there are some companies, such as Modanisa, who came up with their own take on the silk slip-on dress. They created a silk dress that looks exactly like the one above but the only difference was that they kept the word “modesty” in their mind when designing this dress.
Muslim influencers such as Zohra Lahib (Instagram: ZohraLahib) gave Muslim women ideas on everything from how to style their hijab with a blazer, a dress, a hoodie, and even provided the links on how to purchase all the clothing items that she wears. Born and raised in London, she showed the different ways a hijab can be styled, how to apply make-up, all the must go-to halal spots, and even some Islamic attires such as the Jilbab that has become increasingly popular amongst Muslim women. A Jilbab (JIL-BOB) is like a hijab but it covers the entire body from head to toe.
She posted the above image with the caption “finding peace in modesty.” Lahib has been empowering women to embrace their religion, showing them that there is beauty in modesty and even peace. Since 2020, she’s been encouraging Muslim women to take control of what they wear and make it theirs. Any type of clothing item can be styled to fit the modesty level that you want to achieve. If you have trouble and need some ideas, Zohra Lahib and so many others are always there to help.
Many Muslim women found ZARA and H&M to be some of the hot spots in finding modest clothing. They are two of the only stores that many Muslim women go to when they want a new look. These retailers have proved numerous times, through other Muslim fashion influencers, that they stock fashionable but modest clothes. Although ZARA and H&M have always provided some type of modest clothes, it’s not always available and for some, it’s not enough. Sometimes, online shopping is the only way for Muslim women to find the modest styles that they are looking for. Unfortunately for customers in the USA it can take a long time for clothes to be delivered because orders often come from a dominantly Muslim country.
To support the emergence of Muslim designers and consumers, the fashion industry can do many things. First off, they can always support the designers by not only buying their items but also by encouraging other big brand fashion companies to start selling them and designing them as well. If the fashion community had started to purchase more from Muslim designers then not only would they gain the recognition that they deserve but Muslim fashion would also become increasingly popular. If businesses like Louis Vuitton, Gucci, and Armani designed modest clothing and supported Muslim designers, many Muslims would feel like they are achieving representation in a world where Muslims and their religion are misunderstood the most. Muslim women also wouldn’t have to struggle to find clothes that represented their sense of style, allowing them to keep their religion and their beliefs intact. There is not much representation for Muslim women and the exposure that they do get is often more negative than positive. Many people think that we are forced to wear the hijab, or we suffer from oppression. Others think our families, such as our elders, are forcing us to stay covered up because our religion is strict, especially for women. The hijab and a hijabi’s sense of style is their choice. Many people often misunderstand this and often do not know the difference between cultural oppression and religious oppression.
For a lot of us, clothes are a way we can express ourselves, but for Muslim women and increasingly also for Muslim men, it means something more. It is also one of the ways to show that we are able to fit in with the latest trends and styles without forgetting our beliefs and identities. We incorporate and represent our religious beliefs in a lot of the positive aspects of life including the clothes we wear.
Given the rise of Muslim fashion, we have curated a list of relevant articles that we provide below that readers can consult. These include articles in Vogue Magazine, Forbes and also Fashion News, an online fashion site.
Additional articles to consult:
Vogue Business article about modest TikTok influencers changing how modest fashion is seen and marketed towards both men and women. https://www.voguebusiness.com/fashion/tiktokers-are-changing-the-narrative-around-modest-muslim-luxury-fashion
Article about the rise of modest fashion
Article about Ugbad Abdi on the cover off Vogue’s August 2022 Issue https://muslimgirl.com/vogue-france-features-a-hijabi-on-its-cover-for-the-first-time/
·Article about Lululemon's workout hijabs https://wwd.com/fashion-news/fashion-scoops/lululemon-hijabs-1235203377/
About the author: Sanjida Ahmed is a senior at Montclair State University’s Feliciano School of Business, graduating May, 2023 with a major in business administration and a concentration in marketing.