Distinguishing Modest and Muslimah Fashion

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Describing a fashion trend and style is not as easy or straightforward as it seems. A lot of people think both modest and Muslimah fashion fall under the same category, but there’s a fine line between the two. There are more ways than one to describe modest fashion. However, the term is generally used to describe clothing that cover a larger part of the body. Clothing that have longer sleeves and hemlines are examples of fashion options that are available to you to help maintain your modesty. Modest fashion doesn’t necessarily include hijabs in its styling. It is subjective and all up to your interpretation on what is modest. A lot of fashion enthusiasts agree that Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton’s style is a perfect example of what modest fashion is. She is often seen in dresses with either long or three-quarter sleeves and below-the-knee hemline. Modest fashion is something that anyone can wear, regardless of race or religion. Living in a multiracial country, you can see that the majority of Malaysian citizens choose to dress modestly, no matter the occasion. Even among Muslims, modesty is subjective depending on where you stand on the religious spectrum. Muslimah fashion, on the other hand, has a religious undertone. It is, after all, a sign of one’s faith. There are rules and standards that need to be followed and is not up to interpretation. You are expected to cover yourself all the way to your ankles (no short dresses), covering your arms (no short sleeves) and of course, your hair. Somali-born model Halima Aden is a good example of a Muslim woman who continuously breaks barriers in the fashion industry. She was the first hijab-wearing model to grace the cover of British Vogue in the publication’s 102-year history in 2018. You may think that Muslimah fashion is boring and cannot be experimented with, but you’ll be surprised with the styles you can find on social media by Muslim influencers worldwide. They constantly manage to make a fashion statement while adhering to religious standards at the same time.

May 2020 be as bold as my hijabs ♥️?? pic.twitter.com/YEyHNZqMoX — Halima Aden (@Kinglimaa) January 6, 2020

While there are differences between modest and Muslimah fashion, these differences are subtle, thus making it suitable for people of all races to don a variety of options between the two fashion styles. It is no secret that the modest fashion industry has taken the world by storm. It is the fastest-growing market in fashion right now and in 2020, the State of the Global Islamic Economy predicted that the Modest Fashion market could be worth more than £226bil (RM1,216bil).

With such figures, it was only a matter of time that global fashion labels will take notice and try to steal a piece of the pie. Luxury brands such as Burberry, DKNY and Dolce & Gabbana have tried to tap into this market with their collection of modest fashion, but not everyone can afford the price tag of each garment. Fast fashion labels such as H&M and Uniqlo have also launched collections to meet the demands of modest fashion, making it affordable for a larger group of customers to purchase.  Such great international demand bodes well for Malaysian brands that are eager to tap into the market. As a country filled with modest and Muslimah boutiques and brands, there is obviously a firm understanding consumer’s needs of both fashion trends. Ultimately, this means Malaysian fashion designers certainly have the advantage in making their brands and collections known worldwide for affordability and suitability for every occasion.