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Upcoming modest fashion trends in 2024

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Modest fashion has taken its place in the front-row seat of the global fashion stage in recent years, buoyed by the rising profile of modestly dressed luminaries like artist-blogger-designer Hana Tajima, designer Vivy Yusof, model Halima Aden, politician Ilhan Omar, and superstar chef Nadiya Hussain, amongst others. According to Cognitive Market Research, the global modest clothing CAGR for 2024 to 2031 is 5% – a promising trend that could lead to the sector’s multimillion-dollar valuation in a number of years.

Wider trends in the fashion industry featuring aspects of modesty have also turned the public’s eye onto modest fashion, with many fashion fans now recognising the sector’s appeal to individuals of all backgrounds rather than being solely a mainstay of ‘Muslim fashion’.

In other words, the industry is bigger and brighter than ever before, and modest fashion business owners are going to be faced with new opportunities and challenges alike in the coming years.

So, with 2024 on the horizon, let’s delve into the latest trends in modest fashion businesses in Malaysia should be aware of, and how e-commerce can revolutionise the way they connect with their audience.

What is Malaysia’s role in the future of modest fashion?

On the global stage, modest fashion is more than just clothing; it's a statement, a way of life that celebrates diversity and inclusion. Malaysia, with its unique blend of cultures and traditions, contributes a distinct aesthetic to the global modest fashion market that is both vibrant and respectful. 

Malaysian brands and designers commonly leverage the region’s rich textile heritage, such as batiksongket, and tenun, infusing these traditional fabrics with contemporary designs to create pieces that are both unique and globally appealing. Many local designers and clothing brands have been quick to jump onto the latest micro-trends and TikTok-viral designs, resulting in trendy garments that also align with modest design principles. 

The result of these efforts has been an extension of modest fashion’s appeal to non-Muslim consumers who have traditionally not been the main target audience of such brands, allowing customers to keep up with popular fashion trends and salient cultural movements without sacrificing their values or comfort.

Furthermore, through leveraging e-commerce platforms such as TikTok Shop to reach local and international audiences, Malaysian modest fashion brands can capitalise on global trends and build their customer base while still maintaining cultural authenticity.

Trend: modular maximalism

One of the most captivating fashion trends of 2023 that’s set to continue into 2024 is modular maximalism, a celebration of maximalist aesthetics on a budget. 

Drawing inspiration from a variety of sources, including late fashion icon Iris Apfel and the decora subculture’s emphasis on creativity and customisation, the trend is a refreshing departure from minimalist trends of the past and embraces an honesty in personal expression through fashion.

One of the most intriguing aspects of modular maximalism is its accessibility and sustainability. This approach often involves repurposing vintage or thrifted items, combining them with locally sourced materials and accessories to create outfits that are both unique and reflective of individual personalities. Accessories such as belts, jewellery, brooches, pins, keychains, and headscarves are layered to create eye-catching yet budget-friendly outfits, elevating even simple basics into one-of-a-kind ensembles.

As modular maximalism continues to evolve in Malaysia and worldwide, it promises to reshape the landscape of modest fashion in exciting ways. By blending traditional aesthetics with an emphasis on sustainability and personal expression, fashion businesses can cater to the dynamic nature of the trend by appealing to consumers searching for eclectic pieces to make uniquely theirs.

Trend: vibrant volumes

Another trend that modest fashion companies should take note of is the resurgence of voluminous shapes, with the 'jellyfish' look and cottagecore aesthetics leading the charge. 

Characterised by loose, flowing silhouettes that even go so far as to obscure the body’s actual curves, these mainstream trends offer a fresh perspective on modest fashion by naturally aligning with Islamic hijab standards while still appealing to a mainstream audience. 

Within the Malaysian context, this embrace of vibrant volumes represents more than just a stylistic choice: it’s a strategic adaptation to the country's tropical climate. The voluminous dresses, skirt-top clothing sets, and abayas crafted with this trend in mind are designed for breathability and comfort, making them ideal for Malaysia’s weather. Chunky accessories, bold shoes, and statement jewellery are also used not just as embellishments but as integral components of the modest fashion ensemble, adding different textures, patterns, and visual weight to complete the overall look.

As many modest fashion brands in Malaysia are already aligned to modest standards from a functional perspective, they can capitalise on this trend by incorporating the latest micro-trend aesthetics into their designs to keep up a steady appeal to consumers. Be it pastoral, nature-themed cottagecore motifs to Y2K-inspired chunky, translucent plastic accessories, brands can empower wearers to make bold fashion statements while adhering to prevailing modesty standards.

Trend: future-forward fabrics

As we delve deeper into the trends shaping the modest fashion landscape in Malaysia for 2024, we see that innovation doesn't stop at design alone. A significant shift towards future-forward fabrics marks a new era of modest wear, focusing on the integration of technology and sustainability into fashion. This trend not only meets the aesthetic and cultural needs of the modest fashion community but also addresses practical concerns like comfort, climate adaptability, and environmental impact.

Smart textiles such as SPF/UV protection fabrics and moisture-wicking materials are beginning to appear in everyday wear, where they had previously been constrained to sportswear or swimwear. Such innovations are of everyday relevance in Malaysia’s hot and humid weather, offering wearers enhanced comfort and protection without compromising on style or modesty standards. This also turns modest fashion into not just a statement of style but also of health and well-being, expanding the appeal of such apparel to a mainstream crowd seeking greater functionality in their wardrobe.

The shift towards future-forward fabrics in Malaysian modest fashion is also reflective of a broader movement towards sustainability and ethical production practices. The use of eco-friendly materials, recycled fibres such as linen, and sustainable production processes resonates with the values of the modest fashion community, which often prioritises ethical considerations in consumer choices. This commitment to sustainability not only enhances the appeal of Malaysian modest fashion on the global stage but also contributes to the industry’s long-term viability and impact.

As Malaysian designers continue to explore and incorporate these advanced materials into their collections, they can set new standards for what modest wear can achieve – offering garments that are at once stylish, comfortable, and conscientious.

Catalysing Malaysia’s modest fashion evolution through e-commerce

Given the exploration of trends shaping the Malaysian modest fashion landscape, it's crucial to understand how these innovations converge on the digital stage, particularly through e-commerce platforms. This digital revolution is not just about adapting to new styles; it's about transforming the way modest fashion is accessed, purchased, and perceived globally.

For the Malaysian modest fashion industry, this shift towards online platforms has been particularly transformative. E-commerce has enabled local brands to transcend geographical boundaries, offering their unique designs to a global audience. This access and reach are vital for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that previously relied on local markets and traditional retail channels, allowing them to access modestly dressed consumers in overseas markets as varied as the USA, Turkey, South Africa, and Indonesia.

These digital spaces also offer an immersive shopping experience where consumers can explore the rich cultural heritage behind each piece, understand the sustainability practices employed, and appreciate the technological innovations woven into the fabrics. Through online storefronts, brands can quickly introduce new collections that reflect the latest styles, responding in real-time to shifts in consumer preferences in an era where micro-trends are appearing and disappearing at faster rates than ever before.

Moreover, e-commerce facilitates the customisation and personalisation of fashion, allowing brands to cater to the specific needs and tastes of modest wearers across different cultures and climates. This responsiveness is key to capturing the dynamic nature of fashion trends, ensuring that Malaysian modest fashion remains relevant and desirable to a diverse global audience.

Finally, when utilised in tandem with a reliable international logistics and shipping partner such as DHL Express Malaysia, e-commerce platforms enable modest fashion brands to navigate the evolving 2024 fashion landscape with confidence, ensuring that they remain at the forefront of style, innovation, and cultural expression.