There’s a new fashion trend taking over the world, one layer at a time. It’s not particularly showy, but it’s bursting with style, much to the fashion crowd’s delight.
Thanks to Instagram accounts like @hijabfashion, which boasts 2.3 million followers, and Tumblr tags like ‘muslimah fashion’, modest dressing is in its well-deserved place in the spotlight
Muslimah fashion can be defined as a dress style typically worn by Muslim women. There aren’t many rules to it apart from the emphasis on the hijab, the headscarf, and clothing that usually covers the skin, for modesty. With only those two guidelines to adhere to, it’s no wonder that woman across the world have had a colourful time expressing their style.
Check out how modest dressing has been interpreted as it travels across the continents and taking into account each country’s nuances.
The rich history and secular culture of Europe has led to a varied take on modest fashion. Whether it’s reflecting the sunny beaches of Barcelona, or the creative streets of London, Muslimah fashion in Europe can best be described by one word – bold.
Colour and prints grab the eye through layering, for instance an oversized boyfriend button up top worn under a fur gilet over a pair of skinny jeans tucked into boots. Clothes usually skim the body without highlighting any specific area in a style illusion that perfectly encapsulates how modest dressing doesn’t just mean baggy unflattering silhouettes.
The collaboration between popular London-based Muslim style blogger Hana Tajima with Uniqlo has further raised the profile of hijab fashion across the world.
As one of the highest earning continents and largest consumers of fashion, women in the Middle East sway towards luxury fashion. Muslimah fashion in the Middle East may tend to be more conservative, focusing on looser forms that don’t frame the body, but the attention is in the accessories, particularly if they’re gold, chunky and… branded.
Italian designers Dolce & Gabbana made news in 2016 when they announced they were producing a collection of hijabs and abayas targeted to Muslim customers in the Middle East. The clothes will be created with modesty in mind, but still pack the flair of a typical D&G collection with jewel-encrusted embellishments and only the highest quality fabric used. The international brand may be the first to incorporate Muslimah fashion to their main collections, but they certainly won’t be the last!
Modest dressing in America has similar shades of creative layering as seen in Europe with the pairing of a boxy or billowy top with more form-fitting bottoms. What’s unique about the American take on Muslimah fashion is the varied styles borrowed from mainstream fashion from each coast. For instance, when it comes to topping off a look, Californians include a denim jacket, while New Yorkers will reach for a leather biker jacket instead.
Given the lack of specialised Muslimah fashion boutiques in America, locals have taken to mixing and matching high street brands for a modern take on a traditional outlook. The result is effortless while still being modest. Brands have also taken note of the growing trend with Swedish high-street brand H&M scouting and including a Muslim model in their 2015 ‘Close The Loop’ campaign.
From traditional clothing to a genderless avant-garde collection, there is a wide range of influences to draw from and remix. What is favoured is usually a loose-fitting combo, both top and bottom, that is cinched in the waist. Whether it’s the pairing of a long sleeve top tucked into palazzo pants or a maxi skirt, or a traditional baju kebaya, this style trick is a classic.
At this year’s Malaysian Fashion Week, Muslimah fashion will be in the spotlight at the MODFASH@INTRADE fashion pavilion. This platform will showcase modest clothing by local and international designers from Indonesia, Brunei and others. Find out more about this initiative by MATRADE and STYLO here.