DUBAI – A modest fashion week has been launched in Dubai, on April 8, with no catwalk models or skin-baring designs, with around 30 designers showcasing their long-sleeved and leg-length loose pieces on large screens.
“We did away with the catwalk. We thought that was one of the most antiquated things,” Alia Khan, chairwoman of the Islamic Fashion and Design Council (IFDC) told Borneo Bulletin.
Dubbed, Modest Revolution, the event included Muslim and non-Muslim contributors from nearly two dozen countries.
“My customers aren’t just Muslims, but also Orthodox Jewish women who want to stick to their modest religious teachings and wear something that’s classy, timeless and elegant,” Shahd Alasaly, the CEO of the Chicago-based brand ‘Blue Meets Blue’, clarified.
Another fashionista from Malaysia, Vivy Yusof, said that modest fashion was booming in different parts of the world.
“It’s funny that now modest fashion is booming so much while that’s how we’ve been dressing for ages. Layering, covering, long sleeves, long pants, hijab, that’s how we’ve been dressing as Muslim women,” she said.
The 30-year-old businesswoman and her husband co-founded ‘Fashion Valet’, an e-commerce website in Malaysia that features more than 400 South Asian designers, many of them selling modest wear collections.
She selected six South Asian designers to showcase their pieces at her stall.
Islam emphasizes the concept of decency and modesty. In many authentic prophetic hadiths, it has been quoted that “modesty is part of faith”. And Islamic dress code is part of that overall teaching.
The majority of Islamic scholars agree that modesty is mandatory for both Muslim men and women.
Shari`ah requires females to cover their bodies except for the face and the palms, while men are ordered to cover everything from the navel to the knees.
Non-Muslim international fashion lines and retailers are also trying to tap into the niche market for modest clothing.
For example, high-end label Dolce & Gabbana has lately released a collection of headscarves and coordinated abayas, the loose robes worn by some Muslim women.
According to IFDC, Muslims are expected to spend $322 billion on fashion in 2018. This figure is projected to grow as the Muslim population will expand to 2.2 billion by 2030.