Modest fashion is about more than covering up. It’s still fashion, full of variety, color, and embellishment intended to make clothing look beautiful, and there’s a huge audience for it. The global Muslim clothing market reached about $230 billion in 2014, or 11% of global spending on apparel according to a report produced by Reuters (pdf). If it were a single country, it would be the third largest fashion market in the world, behind the US and China, the report says.
A range of brands, beyond well-known international labels such as Uniqlo and Dolce & Gabbana, design for those customers, but there hasn’t been a large international fashion week to bring them altogether. That’s changing with the start of the first International Modest Fashion Week in Istanbul on Friday (May 13).
In the two-day event, set at a historic train station, 70 designers from countries including Malaysia, the United Arab Emirates, and Turkey will show their work. Kerim Ture, CEO of Modanisa, a major Turkish fashion retailer that’s hosting the event, told the AP the goal is ”to create mainstream fashion out of modest fashion and to energize Islamic communities to produce for Muslim women.”
“It’s going to be amazing for [the participants and attendees] to finally feel and hear their very real needs acknowledged and served,” Melanie Elturk, CEO of Haute Hijab, said in an interview with NPR. ”That yes, you have a space in fashion.”