What Modest Fashion Means to Muslim Women

Modest fashion is an up-and-coming niche in the fashion industry. As this niche soars in its popularity, it has caught the attention of those who incorporate modest wear into their daily life: Muslim women.

Several CUNY college students who are members of the Muslim Student Association (MSA) explained in recent interviews why modesty in fashion is important to them, while at the same time expressed frustration about the scarcity of selections available to them.

Zainab Bouba,17 Baruch College, said she had been taught about modest fashion from a young age. “My mom dress modestly, and I used to look up to her as a child,” she said. Many mentioned how modesty was a principle ingrained in them – Maham Saleem, 23, Baruch College, said, “I was raised with it being a priority.” Modesty was not just about dressing in a particular way, but it was about what it represented from a spiritual perspective. Arsela Mallick, 23, Baruch College, said, “Becoming closer to God. And understanding my faith. And the reason behind dressing modestly” is what made her develop her interest in modest fashion.

In her free time, Mallick enjoys discovering more about modest fashion and incorporates modesty as a way to be closer to her faith

However, although the demand for modest fashion is high, the market for modest fashion is not up to the standards that Muslim women would like it to be. “Matching my outfits was hard, and finding loose outfits is hard as well”- Rowan Almuntaser,18, Baruch College. “It’s hard to find clothes that work for us Muslims in shops sometimes, especially during the summertime.” – Arsela Mallick. Finding the right outfit for the right season that gives off an aesthetically pleasing look is a challenge for many navigating the modest fashion market. Affordability is another roadblock within the modest fashion market. With the rise of social media, modest fashion companies are becoming more popular and well-known. Although it may be easy to find modest fashion brands within seconds on Instagram, finding pieces with an affordable price tag can be challenging. Maham Saleem, 23, Baruch College “Initially it was lack of availability. Now it’s accessibility. Modest clothing is more expensive than ever before.” “I think it’s great – however, they overprice certain items. For example, the Nike hijab is VERY overpriced” – Dua Sandhu, 21, Baruch College.

The modest fashion market is a niche filled with rich possibilities. As modest fashion enters the mainstream market, the inclusivity of Muslim women has become a hot topic. Global Fashion brands like Burberry, Max mara, and more have had Muslim models walk the runaway and run campaigns.  The effort to represent Muslim women is worthy of praise. However, the industry can make improvements in its inclusivity. “It is great to see. I also think that brands should do it responsibly. Not just to have diversity. But want to include Muslims and the Muslim voice. We deserve in fashion just as much as others.” – Arsela Mallick.
“It’s a nice try, but it should be made from someone who dresses modestly and not made from brands that create revealing outfits.” – Rowan Almuntaser.
Muslim women want brands that are made for them by them. In essence, we need brands that cater explicitly to the expectations and standards of Muslim women.


(Photo Provided By: Arsela Mallick)