The Modest Fashion Industry: Opportunities for Luxury Brands

In 2018, modest fashion began to take center stage in the global fashion industry, with brands finally embracing the dressing style of Muslim consumers. However, three years down the line, luxury brands are failing to meet the needs of the market. While the modest fashion industry is valued at $277 billion, the largest markets for modest fashion include Iran, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia, with strong growth predicted for countries such as Indonesia. With over 1.8 billion Muslims worldwide, luxury brands have an opportunity to tap into this market.

Despite the vast market potential, TikTok influencer Maha Gondal finds it hard to find premium brands that design modest clothing. While some brands offer limited pieces, the industry still lacks quality, experience, and trend, which led to the closure of high-profile attempt The Modist in 2020. Despite the challenges, several independent designers such as Daily Paper, Louella, Talabaya, and SemSem have gained success in the industry, catering to the Muslim market’s diverse needs.

While modest fashion’s definition may vary across regions, it is crucial to understand the Muslim consumer’s needs and values to provide the right product. For instance, many women in the West prioritize fashion, while consumers in the Middle East and Asia-Pacific value religious and cultural reasons for modest dressing. A one-size-fits-all capsule without variation demonstrates a lack of understanding of Muslim consumers.

Retailers such as Net-a-Porter and MatchesFashion have curated collections for modest fashion, featuring local and international brands. In contrast, some luxury brands fail to market to Muslim consumers appropriately. For example, few brands market “hijab” or “head coverings” despite offering scarves long enough to cover the hair, ears, and neck. Louis Vuitton and Dolce & Gabbana are the only luxury sites to have stocked products labelled as “hijab,” “head coverings,” or “headscarves” in the past three months, according to market intelligence platform Edited. The fashion industry must cater to all subgroups to communicate and appeal to their values and aesthetics better.

Employing Muslim designers and marketers on design teams can help provide authentic representation of the market. It can lead to better marketing and a clearer understanding of the consumer. Muslim consumers resonate more with inclusive brands and those that align with their social and political beliefs. Therefore, knowing and understanding your audience goes a long way in building brand loyalty.

Modest fashion presents a massive opportunity for luxury brands to tap into a diverse and growing market. Despite the challenges of catering to different subgroups, understanding Muslim consumers’ values and aesthetics and employing them on design teams can help build brand loyalty and make a significant impact in the industry.

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