The global fashion industry has been making a significant amount of progress throughout the last few years. The rise of modest fashion is one of the most prominent results of this progress. Modest fashion is the shared interest in staying covered up, while still looking stylish. More and more companies are making their products more accessible to a wide demographic of women. Women are spending money on clothes that they deem appropriate for their closets. The reason that they choose to do this is so they can place a huge emphasis on sensuality over sexuality. Women all across the globe are attempting to normalize the desire to dress more conservatively.
Companies like Nike, H&M, Zara, and RUH Collective are investing their money in new clothing lines that attract a wider audience of people. By broadening their scope, they hope a greater quantity of women will want to shop at certain places that satisfy their needs. Deborah Weinswig states, “The RUH Collective website now offers carefully curated, sustainably made items such as palazzo pants, jumpsuits, joggers, maxi dresses, kimonos, tops and skirts.” in the article Modest Fashion Is Just Fashion (Forbes Magazine). By having these options, women who believe in modesty can choose to shop in these places, which in turn will increase the company’s business. Nike has advanced their products to keep up with the times. They have created a Nike hijab that gives women the choice to cover up if they would like. According to Backlash As Nike Launches Sports Hijab (News.com.au), “Nike has launched a hijab custom designed so that a Muslim woman who wants to cover her head can still work out.” The article This Online Store Is A First For Modest Shoppers (Refinery29) comments, “Modest fashion is expected to grow into $484 billion market by 2019.” This goes to show how much people are willing to spend in order to wear clothing they feel comfortable in.
Both positive and negative reactions have arisen due to this trend. Many people support the movement, as seen in the documentary What Does It Mean To Be Fashionably Modest? (The Atlantic). Women from different backgrounds are shown pursuing their passion for fashion. They argue that if someone is free to reveal their body, they should be free to cover their body. As highlighted in the video, one of three women, Dina Torkia, is a hijabi influencer who talks about all the hate she gets on her social media accounts. The hate she mentions comes from both men and women, muslim and nonmuslim alike. Backlash as Nike Launched Sports Hijab (News.com.au) states, “…criticism has been swift on social media with some claiming Nike is effectively enabling women to be forced to wear the head scarf.” Another person critiquing Nike’s product (which Nike calls “The Pro Hijab”) stated it “normalises the oppression of women.” Yet another accused Nike of “cashing in on subjugation and domination.” Some of the people who do not support the modest movement believe that it promotes oppression and that within the movement, there is no free will.
Normalizing modesty is a natural effort made by some women in their daily lives. How the Internet Made Modest Fashion Cool (The Atlantic) is a news article that explains, “… fashion blogger Chandra Leonardo…says, she always felt out of place among her peers. She wore maxi skirts years before they regained mainstream popularity as the carefree weekend staples of boho-chic celebrities.” Women had been wearing conservative clothing before it became popular, and continued to do so even though it was an unusual look for others. They had no interest in fitting in.
“Bodies should not be policed.” says Academy of American Studies senior student, Jada Ridley. She believes that people should be free to express themselves. That is exactly what modest fashion devotees advocate for. They believe people have as much of a right to cover up, as they do to strip down.
Written by Khadija Mohsin
Photo Courtesy of Khadija Mohjin