Modest fashion used to be a really niche market, catering to women who prefer wearing clothing that reveals little skin due to cultural and religious reasons. These days however, it has entered mainstream consciousness, with a young set of cosmopolitan, social media-savvy consumers increasingly looking to modest fashion as an aesthetic choice.
This passionate group of shoppers are demanding coverage — whether it is for religious reasons or personal preference — but refuse to skimp on style either.
And boy has modest fashion evolved. No longer deemed as the dull and dowdy apparel for religious folk, pieces these days are fun, modern and fashionable — think feminine tops with long flouncy sleeves, ruffled midi skirts and wide legged checkered trousers, to name a few.
Thanks to the blurring of lines between boundaries and fuelled by this increased demand, modest fashion is now a lucrative multi-billion dollar industry, so you can expect plenty more options in months and years to come.
But enough talk. Whether you’re looking for a gorgeous new outfit for Hari Raya Puasa (on June 5 this year), or perhaps you’re just hoping to add a few new pieces to your wardrobe, we’re here to help. Below are eight brands where you can easily get your hands on some stylish modest-fashion picks.
E-tailer Zalora has a whole section of modest wear, from labels such as Petra and Umma as well as its own in-house lines, Zalia and Lubna, so you can be sure you will be able to find something for every social occasion. Zalia’s 2019 Hari Raya collection is especially noteworthy, with pieces that are both elegant and mystical. There are four broad styles to choose from — the flirty and feminine Spring Romance; the earthy, country-style Prairie Dance; the regal and dramatic Golden Dawn; and the glittery and embellished Opulent Night. Our favourite? The lace peplum kebaya set and placement jacquard fit and flare dress.
Lubna, on the other hand, has a more whimsical and youthful vibe, so expect anything from organza to floral prints to tie-knots and more. Bonus: It comes with more than 80 selections for men so they won’t be left out either. In addition, Lubna has a Curve collection for plus size women and Kebaya Labuh that features accessible designs for nursing mothers. But we love the draped top with lace sleeves and batwing drawstring top kurung.
Both lines have more than 300 designs, so whether you are thinking of going feminine with a cream lace ruffled dress or to channel the vibrancy of spring with a yellow number, you can expect a variety of colour tones from pastels to jewels and a myriad of silhouettes and materials from these gorgeous collections.
2. Pomelo Fashion
Titled Woven in Time, Bangkok-based fast fashion label Pomelo Fashion has tapped on the rich colours and patterns of Morocco for their Ramadan modest wear collection this year. Featuring deep earthy browns and oranges as their main colour inspiration, the pieces are injected with an array of prints from paisleys to batiks to create a dizzying and colourful offering. But if you fancy a more minimalist approach, no fret, because the drop also includes simpler designs of solidly coloured dresses in colours such as pastel pink, mint green and burgundy in silhouettes such as dresses, jumpsuits and kaftans. Available from April 29, this collection is also very wallet-friendly, as the range starts at S$24 a pop. We say go for the mixed prints waist tie blouse or maxi brush stroke waist tie dress.
Founded by stylish Malaysian entrepreneur and blogger Vivy Yusof (who is also behind premium scarf label dUCk), FashionValet is a multi-label platform to shop for modest fashion. Featuring labels such as Naelofar Hijab and Locka, the retailer sells a range of products such as full traditional Malay outfits, contemporary separates, accessories, shoes and beauty products. Whether you are looking for girly lace outfits, pastel and printed ensembles, or nude dresses and more, the pieces offered here are always elegant and tasteful. Plus, you can shop for your man and children too, if you so fancy. We like the Larney Montana wrap kurung in beigeand Rico Rinaldi Maryam printed modern kurung in mustard yellow. Shipping is free for Singapore and FashionValet has a 30-day return policy that allows you to exchange your unwanted purchases for store credits.
We all know British e-tailer Net-a-Porter is a popular place to shop, thanks to its extensive collections of international brands that span from notable labels such as Gucci, Prada and Burberry to lesser known labels Peter Do and David Koma. But Net-a-Porter also has a curated section for modest wear, with over 300 designs available from maxi dresses and long skirts, to long-sleeve tops, long pants and printed scarves. Psst, our vote goes to unique creations such as this flared sleeve turtleneck top from Solace London or this lace and crochet maxi dress from Tory Burch.
If you’re looking to support Asian designers and fashion, look no further than SocietyA. The omni-channel boutique, whose retail store is located in Takashimaya, Ngee Ann City, is dropping collections from three renowned Malaysian designers in time for the Eid festivities. The first is Alia Bastamam, a luxury ready-to-wear label that will feature flowy and sleek dresses and separates, while Syomirizwa Gupta plays with unconventional silhouettes such as blouson sleeves, peplum blouses and textural prints. Finally, Afiq M. takes the minimalist approach but adds his signature edge to create eye-catching yet versatile pieces. These collections will be available in store at Ngee Ann City between May 4 to 19.
Inayah is for the girls who love a modern, minimalist (read: not boring) aesthetic. It’s a go-to place if you’re looking for an abaya (like a long-sleeved maxi dress) or a hijab, or just a new scarf or a pair of sleek trousers to complete your wardrobe. The fashion label has also collaborated with Somali-American model Halima Aden to create various outfit curations that are nothing short of elegant and grace. Try this charcoal ruched maxi dress and pair it with this matte pink soft touch rayon hijab. Plus, if you’re looking at new ways to tie your hijab, Inayah has a YouTube channel which guides you on the various quick and easy methods to change up your hijab look.
7. The Modist
The Modist is the modest wear counterpart to Net-a-Porter or the fashion equivalent of Beautylish, which means that the online boutique is a curation of modest styles from luxury, high-end labels including Rosie Assoulin, Sies Marjan and JW Anderson. You can get your entire wardrobe — whether you’re looking for jumpsuits, dresses, bags or shoes — all in one place. The Modist also currently has a Ramadan edit that curates products into different styles from shimmering evening wear to colourful day outfits. Our favourites are the Erdem Clover floral print bow back gown and Safiyaa spotted balloon sleeve chiffon gown.
Looking for a burkini (a hybrid of a burqa and bikini)? Istanbul fashion e-tailer Modanisa has your back. In addition, it’s not just modest swimwear that the brand carries. You can purchase hijabs, trench coats and tunics as well. Modanisa also has a curation of products that cater to plus size and pregnant women as well as stylish evening wear for a formal event. Our favourites include this navy blue abaya and this burnt brown checkered coat.