With the modest fashion industry expanding in ways one never imagined, businesses have a lucrative opportunity to tap on. While hidden markets like Canada and Australia are attractive playgrounds to consider, paying attention to the leaders in the scene can bring merit to your business goals.
According to the 2022 State of Global Islamic Economy report, Iran takes the helm of the Muslim consumer clothing market, followed by Turkey, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Egypt. Targeting potential customers in these regions that predominantly make up Muslims can help you explore various interpretations of modesty in the Muslim world and establish visibility and trust in your brand that caters to diverse needs.
With global consumer spending forecasted to grow by 6% this year, capturing a market worth US$313 billion, and possibly reach US$375 billion by 2025, diving into the modest fashion industry will be a smart business decision that can bring you the greatest returns.
Could these markets be your next big ticket win?
Worth US$50.7 billion, Iran tops the chart in the global modest fashion market. With its own storied fashion past, the country’s political upheavals changed the narrative of women’s fashion. Today, designers have taken up the challenge to work with the state’s definition of women’s modesty, pairing it well with how these women want to look.
More designers are on a creative pursuit to convert the compulsory headscarf and tunic into more modern interpretations of Iran’s modest fashion, shifting the narrative away from the confines of the Islamic Revolution.
Introducing fashionable trends for everyday wear in Iran can help you score plenty in the wardrobes of many Muslim women who want to express themselves without defying the Islamic dress code.
Marrying the Islamic culture of clothing with a European fashion influence, many Muslim women in Turkey are rewriting modesty in their own creative ways. From global brands like DKNY and Tommy Hilfiger, to local retailers including Modanisa, Sefamerve and E-Tessettür, Turkish Muslim women have a myraid of modest fashion options to consider, across all categories: shawls, abayas, scarves, jilbabs, ponchos, evening gowns and even swimwear.
Exploring garments that offer greater coverage for religious Muslim women in Turkey is the key to a successful venture to this Middle Eastern nation, a local market worth US$36.2 billion.
Many global brands have already been capitalising on the lifestyle needs of the rising middle class in Pakistan, alongside local fashion brands, contributing to a whopping US$23 billion market worth. Political portrayals and cultural disillusionment may put some off from investing in this South Asian country. However, the growing fashion-savvy clientele are inviting casual, stylish and modest fashion trends like never before, owing to Pakistan’s economic and social growth.
Brands can also consider dipping their toes into the luxury market, currently dominated by bridal and formal wear. At the same time, introducing more affordable avenues for Pakistani women looking for wallet-friendly modest, yet fashionable, apparel, can help you get ahead of the competition.
Fashion events were only a recent phenomenon in Saudi Arabia, but with long-awaited advances towards equality, the country is seeing an interesting revolution in the modest fashion department, now worth US$21.6 billion. When once fashion events were strictly for women and cameras were forbidden (collections were captured and distributed in the media in a controlled manner), just last year the Belgian embassy in Riyadh invited a mixed public to its gardens to witness the collaboration between Western fashion brands and Saudi Arabian designers. The princess of the Saudi royal family, Safia Hussein Guerras, also put forward a new abaya collection in partnership with a Belgian designer Christophe Beaufays.
Loose-fitting tops and trousers, colourful abayas or modern layers of mix-match — the Gulf country is opening up to greater interpretations of modest Islamic fashion. Your trump card lies between style and Saudi Arabia’s Islamic dress code.
The modest fashion market in Egypt has always been thriving. From burkinis to loose-fitting maxi dresses and matching hijabs, in subdued colours and those that pop, Egyptian Muslim women take modest fashion seriously, that too in various ways. Bringing in US$18.7 billion worth, the industry is only looking to soar in this African country.
Conservative yet fashionable is the motto, which many local brands have artfully responded to. Your clothing has to stand out among those by Egyptian designers, which amount to over 100. Identifying the different dressing styles of various Muslim women, hijab-wearers or not, will be helpful.
Modest fashion was born because conservative women wanted the same styles global brands offer but in a more modest make. The burkini is one captivating garment that exemplified how designers can relook at fashion styles today.
The art of marrying modest elements with mainstream trends gives brands the opportunity to be creative and address untapped needs all over the world. While Western labels catch up, why not fill the gaps today?