Modest dressing has always been a topic of interest and dialogue for the global Muslim population, but it’s only recently that this fashion trend has taken the world by storm. In recent times, the worldwide modest fashion market has seen exponential growth and is now estimated to be worth US$277 billion, with this figure expected to rise to US$311 billion by 2024. This traction has been spearheaded by the rise of the world’s fastest growing faith group - there are 1.8 billion Muslims globally, who will account for 31% of the world’s population by 2050, according to a research done by Pew Research Center. The concept of modest fashion has seen an upward trend in its inclusion and discussion in the mainstream, particularly on the runway and social media. One such instance is how Pinterest’s United Kingdom arm discovered that searches for 'modest fashion' saw exponential growth by 500% during the first London Modest Fashion Week, according to Spire Research & Consulting.
So what exactly is modest fashion or modest dressing? While there is no definite definition, most experts agree that modest fashion is the act of covering up on purpose in your dressing. However, with the mainstreaming of modest fashion on runways, it has evolved and been appropriated to mean different things to various groups in society.
Subsequent iterations have spread to locations globally with Dubai Modest Fashion Week, Indonesia Modest Fashion Week, Melbourne Modest Fashion Week and Amsterdam Modest Fashion Week. New destinations are constantly being added to the calendar, with New York and Miami among the latest.
Unlike in the past when modest fashion brands struggled to bring in and deal with buyers, the boom in modest fashion shows represents a new era of opportunity for these brands. As one of the world’s biggest markets in this space, Malaysian small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are primed to take advantage of this growing multi-billion-dollar modest fashion industry.
Homegrown Malaysian brands like Mimpikita have been leading the way in attending modest fashion shows. In 2016, their pastel & jewel designs made waves at London Modest Fashion Week and left a global market thirsting for more. Fiziwoo’s decision to parade their designs boasting sleek forms and modern lines in international modest fashion shows have also garnered them a high-profile fanbase that includes celebrities and influencers. Local designer Alia Bastamam made a name for herself in Kuala Lumpur with her designs before gaining traction to expand overseas rapidly. Other Malaysian SMEs such as Batek by Rasta Rashid (BbRR) have even blazed a new path to the American market by attending Miami Modest Fashion Week.
Undoubtedly, from the examples above, it is evident that attending modest fashion runway shows can be a catalyst for Malaysian SMEs. Modest fashion shows further provide a platform for brands in this space to increase their visibility, connect businesses to buyers and enable brands to gain feedback from them. Beyond that, some advantages of joining international modest fashion events in places like Dubai include obtaining leads to discover overseas markets with a growing modest fashion demand and gaining access to distribution channels.
While attending fashion shows effectively boosts a business’ exposure, there are other ways to get your modest fashion brand noticed. Ultimately, the increasing interest towards modest fashion on a global scale represents endless possibilities for businesses to capitalise on, such as the use of influencers and social media. Brands just have to be wise in choosing the right strategy to take their businesses to the next level.