Modest Fashion has turned into a buzzword recently as it garners more and more attention both from average consumers and international fashion houses. From Atelier Versace‘s SS14 collection that centers around draped hoods to Dolce & Gabbana‘s new range of hijabs and luxury abayas, major fashion maisons are either taking inspiration from or designing for modest fashion.
But what exactly IS “Modest Fashion”? As we searched for the definition online, we are presented with different views of this buzzword, depending on your background. Western society tend to look at modest fashion as a literal translation, “to dress modestly”. They coin examples of Adele altering her emerald green Givenchy red carpet dress to the Grammys 2017; Adding sleeves and a higher neckline. Their icon for modest fashion is Kate Middleton, with her impeccable yet reserved style, which is a stark contrast to Bella Hadid‘s more provocative approach to her outfits. If you look at it from a Singaporean’s point of view, modest fashion is intricately linked to religion, particularly Islam. When we think “modest fashion”, we think hijabs, loose fitting clothes and traditional clothing such as baju kurungs and kaftans.
In 2017, that just isn’t the case anymore. With the rise of social media and the proliferation of the internet, faith and fashion don’t have to be mutually exclusive. The web and social media platforms have empowered independent modest fashion designers, created hijabi influencers and allowed the spotlight to shine on hijabi models, resulting in increased public awareness and more options for the average Muslim girl. No longer do women have to choose between faith and fashion.
Today, we are highlighting the leaders of the modest fashion world that have transformed how millennial Muslimahs view dressing themselves. They are no longer restricted by options. From structured peplums to couture pieces, these designers have created silhouettes and colours that aren’t the typical “hari raya” dress code. When you look at the creations of these designers, religion isn’t the first thing that pop into your head. Instead, you think, “Wow. That’s a gorgeous look”. And that is something to be celebrated.
1. Dian Pelangi
Djamaloedin and Hernanl are a husband and wife tag-team from Indonesia that has turned their humble beginnings in 1991 into a full-fledged brand. Now they have over 500 employees under them and 14 retail stores strategically scattered all over Indonesia and Malaysia. Dian Pelangi came from their vision to make traditional Indonesian clothing and muslim fashion more desirable. Their designs embrace colour and mix traditional techniques such as batik and beadwork with modern silhouettes. Every piece is lovingly handmade and textiles are meticulously dyed and woven to create unique pieces that redefine modest fashion. Old-school batik patterns are revamped to become geometric patterns with unique colour combinations you never would’ve associated with its traditional predecessor. International ladies fret not, you can shop their made-to-order collection online too!
Shop at dianpelangi.com
2. Nurita Harith
A fine arts degree holder, Nurita Harith, a designer from Malaysia, has always had a passion for design and beautiful things. Her designs consists of soft layers and drapes that create an ultra feminine silhouette without the need to bare skin. Mixing lace and intricate beadwork to accent necklines and hems, Nurita adds another layer of femininity to her pieces. She tends to go for more muted and sophisticated colour tones that are flattering on every skintone, perfect for polished ladies. Her more elaborate pieces are particularly popular amongst brides and bridesmaids who drool over lace and detailed beaded hems.
Shop at nuritaharith.com.
3. Rico Rinaldi
Rico Rinaldi‘s repertoire is truly impressive. This award-winning designer from Kuala Lumpur combines haute couture and modest fashion in the best way possible, creating scintillating images and interesting silhouettes for the modern women. A combination of couture dresses, bridal gowns and ready-to-wear fashion, Rico has something for everyone. He uses colours in a bold, almost graphic manner and while his runway pieces are more conceptual and not 100% “modest”, his ready-to-wear pieces are both unique and wearable at the same time (a winning combination, in our opinion). His bridal collection is especially breath-taking and dreamy. They would make ANY bride feel like a princess, regardless if you wear modest garments or not.
Shop at ricorinaldi.com.
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4. Anniesa Hasibuan
When it comes to modest fashion designers who are paving the way, Anniesa Hasibuan is the one that comes to mind immediately. This Jakarta-born designer has received international attention for her stunning runway collections shown at the New York Couture Fashion Week. Her designs are unlike anything you have ever seen and a total pleasure to look at. Her collections center around glamour and drama with the use of feathers, sequins, pearls and swarovski combined with a metallic colour palette. If we could describe her works in one word, it’ll be “regal”. Besides Muslim couture fashion, Anniesa also has a ready-to-wear collection that is equally impressive stocked at Debenhams, Zalora and more.
Shop at anniesahasibuan.com.
5. Diana Kotb
Diana Kotb hails from the land down under. Before becoming a full-fledged designer, she had a 10 year career in the fashion industry working for a number of top Australian Fashion Designers and wrote for Marie Claire Australia for 4 years. In those years, she was exposed to luxury fashion and fell in love. However, “as a muslim woman who wears the hijab, not only was it difficult to find modest clothing, but virtually impossible to find luxury designer modest wear” she said. This prompted her journey to design chic luxury pieces specifically for the modern modest woman. Her pieces focuses on the quality of the fabric, finishes and construction of the garments. Her designs scream luxe sophistication and can be worn by any woman on a day to day basis.
Shop at dianakotb.com.
Since 2009, fashion duo Mohd Hafizi Radzi Woo and Izree Kai Haffiz have come a long way with their brand “FIZIWOO”. Incorporating a “less is more” motto in their designs, they focus on timeless creations with sleek silhouettes and modern lines. Perhaps due to their architectural background, their pieces play with balance, proportion and texture in an elegant manner. With social media, FIZIWOO has, in recent years, risen to new heights, garnering a large fan-base that includes celebrities and modest fashion influencers. Their collection is a combination of modestwear and couture pieces so, there’s something for everyone.
Shop at fiziwoo.com.
7. Lulu Alhadad
If you are looking for something more traditional, then Lulu Alhadad is the one to turn to. This local designer has been designing clothes for muslimahs in Singapore since 2005. Tapping into her Middle Eastern heritage, her designs focus on effortless and easy-to-wear jellabiyas, kaftans and abayas. She places emphasis on designing pieces for women of all ages, even introducing a kids collection in the recent years. Her collection is a parade of patterns embellished and embroidered in vibrant colours that celebrate her Arabic heritage. Her pieces pay homage to her roots, making her creations not at all pretentious, but very accessible and honest. Which explains her popularity amongst the Malay community in Singapore, it’s fashion for the everyday Muslim woman and a salute to a long-standing heritage.
Shop at lulualhadad.com.
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Malaysian brand, Mimpikita (which translates to “Our Dream”) is the brain child of three sisters; Nurul, Mira and Syera Zulkifli. To them, Mimpikita is “all about removing the old ideologies and stereotypes that prevent us (Muslim women) from having it all,” said Mira. That is their dream, and they have come a long way since their humble beginnings. On top of showcasing their collection at 2016’s London Fashion Week, they are reportedly in talks with behemoth online retailer, ASOS in efforts to make modest fashion more accessible. Their pieces are all about wearability and comfort, without compromising chicness and modernity. Tailored trousers and wrap dresses in the trendiest colours, Mimpikita is all about understated sophistication for the average woman.
Shop at mimpikita.com.my.
By Hanan Haddad