As a Muslim woman, I have always felt that dressing modestly meant sacrificing style. However, with the rise of modest fashion, I am finally seeing that there is plenty of room for both. I recently attended the Indonesia Now runway show during New York Fashion Week and was amazed to see models confidently walking down the runway in innovative ensembles that included hijabs, burqas or niqabs. It was the first time I had ever truly seen myself in high fashion.
The designers behind the show were all Muslim women who shared a common philosophy: to make fashion accessible and empowering to Muslim women and anyone else who doesn’t want to show a lot of skin. These powerhouses are disrupting the status quo and redefining what it means to be fashionable.
Trisha Chas of Zeta Prive finds drive in creating luxurious modest clothing options for Muslim women. Her designs include intricate and bejeweled outfits, reflective of the multilayered spirit of the women they adorn. Linda Anggrea, the head designer and CEO of Buttonscarves, empowers women to pursue their dreams through beauty and confidence. The ensembles from Buttonscarves feature clean lines and a loose, flowy look for those seeking an alternative to skintight clothing. Istafiana Candarini, Nadya Karina, and Afina Candarini, the founders and designers of Kami for HGLModest highlight the beauty of individuality. Their designs display the strength within women of the past and empower the future.
Nada Puspita, the founder and designer of her eponymous brand, hopes to expand the market of modest fashion with innovative dresses, blazers, skirts, and scarves. Modest fashion is the future, she told me, pointing to the growth of her company and the growing excitement around the movement.
The resistance to modest high fashion is still prevalent, however. Puspita described struggling to make her designs appealing to American consumers at New York Fashion Week without compromising her pledge of modesty. Her faith is a constant reminder that her work is an expression of gratitude and servitude toward God, and her mission is to serve women who want to dress modestly.
The choice to dress modestly is an act of independence and empowerment. It is the decision to put your faith and comfort above societal trends or expectations. Fashion should be an outward reflection of one’s inward inspirations, not a rigid structure dictated by one underlying rule about how much of someone’s body you can see. Feeling like your most authentic self is what’s truly hot.
The rise of modest fashion is empowering women to express themselves through fashion. It is a movement that deserves to be recognized and celebrated. With the growing excitement around this movement, I am hopeful that more designers will follow in the footsteps of these powerhouses and make fashion accessible and empowering to all women.