REDEFINING MODEST FASHION

By: Shivangi Bhatia

In a recent event in Los Angeles, USA titled “Under the Abaya: Evolving Women’s Fashion in Saudi Arabia”, a Saudi Arabia based fashion entrepreneur Marriam Mossali, founder of luxury fashion consultancy Niche Arabia and the fashion blog Shoes and Drama says,

The same way women love shoes and bags, we love abayas, that’s what you’re seeing everyday. It’s our national garment that we wear outside. We wear it (with pride) and it’s all about showing it off.”

True to the above remark, long gone are the days when fashion and modesty were mutually exclusive. Today, Muslim women, adorned with hijabs and abayas, are conquering the fashion industry with their fashionable and chic, yet modest looks. It seems as if the millennial women in the Middle East are leading a fashion and lifestyle movement that has already crossed nation borders. Now is the era, when fashion labels all over the world are turning to Islamic modest fashion, to make a unique style statement.Be it the celebrated H&M model, Mariah Idrissi, who became the first hijab-wearing woman to appear in a western fashion campaign or the 19-year old Somali-American model Halima Aden, who walked the runway at Kanye West’s Yeezy in her voguish, trendsetting hijab, modest fashion is the newly-found inclination of several fashion designers and even fashion bloggers in every nook and corner of the fashion-orientated world.

A little while back, a Dubai-based clothing brand Endemage released their abaya collection for the occasion of Eid-ul-fitr.  The collection, inspired by Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi, translates the style elements of the mosque’s architecture using traditional hand-embroidery techniques with silver and gold. These trending abayas that can be called the blend of culture with couture are the new widespread fire among the younger generations and has hit the social media with a full blow. The new trend of the present day includes colorful abayas ranging from chequered patterns to printed or embroidered designs. Young Islamic women have accessorized these with flashy shoes, sunglasses and handbags and are flaunting their style quotient and aesthetic appeal over the Internet as well as in public. The modern women of today are adhering to modesty in style.Dolce and Gabbana, H&M and Nike are a few apparel brands that have laid out their hands into the Islamic fashion industry by addressing women, wearing a hijab and abayas, on their advertising campaigns.

It comes about as if the fashion industry has stepped up to a new era, wherein style is not all about revealing clothes, but is rather defined by all round acceptance. This is the age of the modern-millennial woman who aspires to make a mark on the world with her elegant clothing while maintaining her faith and modesty.  Indeed, today is the age when modesty is redefined!

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