How Fashion Labels and Retailers Can Capture the Booming Modest Market

modest fashion

Type the hashtag #modestfashion on your Instagram search box and instantly your screen will be filled with hundreds of thousands of fashion inspirations in the form of hijabs, headscarves, maxi dresses, and abayas posted by women across different cultural backgrounds and beliefs around the world. Social media is buzzing with the modest fashion movement, and there is an increasing demand for demure wears, mainly driven by young Muslim consumers.

In the summer of 2016, women visiting the beaches of Nice, Cannes, and other French cities were banned from wearing “burkinis”– a full-body modesty swimsuit – rather than conventional swim wears, controversially placing the fashion preferences of Muslims under scrutiny. Yet, aside the politically motivated reactions surrounding modest fashion, its market is booming. While it is dominated by the global Muslim population, there is an increasing number of women in the Christian and Jewish communities with interest in fashionable modest wear.

A generation of faith-and-fashion-conscious modest wear shoppers is propelling a surge in demand for modest clothing, globally. While the market is still growing, the potential for fashion labels and retailers is still largely untapped. How do these big players in the fashion world take advantage of this fertile market?


modest fashionThe path forward to win this consumer-driven market is clear: listen to the needs of modest women, and relate with them. Modest fashion – once a niche market – has entered mainstreamand now it’s important to listen to what is really needed by Muslim women. Fashion labels have the most to gain from adopting this approach as they have been worse-hit by the impact of dissatisfied consumers. However, some brands have been listening. New brands like Aab – a London-based womenswear fashion label – creates clothing design for modest fashion consumers. Their goal is to reach out to consumers who feel underserved by name brands and the big retailers.

Since its inception in 2007, Aab has opened two physical stores, at The Broadway in Bradford and at East Shopping Centre in East London. And since then, the fashion brand has recorded double digit sales yearly, and was even named the 14th most popular Muslim ecommerce brand globally by Reuters.

Understand What Modest Women Want

What do modest women want? It’s quite simple; they want fashion labels to offer the same styles with more coverage. Research has shown that modest women are great at spotting the potential in fashion trends. By retaining your brand’s aesthetic on your covered-up collections, you can make the modest fashion consumer feel recognized.

As the global Muslim population is set to increase by an estimated 30 percent in 2030, modest fashion is on an upward path. The level of success fashion brands and retailers can achieve will largely depend on their ability to understand a complex, savvy, and conscious customer – and cater for their specific needs. Listening to and understanding the needs of the modest-woman will help retailers and brands curate clothing selections to cater for the modest fashion market.

Efforts Beyond Seasonal

The Ramadan season has been a perfect time for different fashion labels to reach out to the teeming Muslim population – women in general that now prefer covered-up dressing. However, limiting your business model to specific Muslim-themed seasons will hardly do justice to the increasing demand for modest wear. Uniqlo is one of the pacesetters in this regard. The fashion retail brand partnered with Hana Tajima, a UK-based Muslim designer, with a modestwear collection for spring 2015.

This year-round approach is key to ensuring brands can cater for the needs of the modest dressing community as a whole. The spending power of young Muslim shoppers – who make up a large percentage of the global Muslim population – is very significant. By adopting a year-round, rather than seasonal business model, brands will not only satisfy the needs of the modestwear enthusiasts today, but position themselves for what is set to become the face of contemporary fashion in the near future.

The modest fashion market is only going to get even more sophisticated, as the consumer continues to steer the wheels. With the increasing spending power of the young Muslim population, savvy brands and retailers will do well to invest significantly into the modestwear industry. By displaying modest collections on models in a way that resonates with the modest consumer, making modestwears easily accessible to customers all over the world, and adopting same aesthetics and styles for your modest collections, you can better engage with the modest woman and cater for her specific needs.

Article Submitted By Community Writer

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