What went down at the two-day style soiree…
It wasn’t long ago that we we’re celebrating diversity at AW17 fashion month shows across style capitals New York, London, Paris and Milan. We saw women of colour rule the runway at LFW and witnessed the rise of Halima Aden – the first Somali hijab-wearing model to sign a contract with IMG and walk in NYFW. So, it’s no wonder why the founders of Istanbul Modest Fashion Week felt it was timely to present the ground-breaking style show to a British audience. The Modanisa London Modest Fashion Week made its debut at the London Muslim Lifestyle Show 2017, over the Easter Bank Holiday weekend, and we were on-site to get all the goss.
Held at Olympia London in the iconic Saatchi Gallery, the Modanisa London Modest fashion week bought together world class designers, brands and influencers for the two-day celebration of both emerging and established talent within the modest fashion world, with more than 26 international designers from across the globe showcasing their collections. British brands spotlighted at the event including Pillar, Saiqa Majeed, and Farrah Naaz, who shared the main-stage with Turkey’s Mayovera, Selma Sarı, and Refka, the USA’s Fllumae, Malaysia’s Nourish Kareem and Aidijuma, and Helena Latifi of Norway.
Somali-American model, Halima Aden was flown in from her hometown of Minnesota to open the first MLMFW catwalk show, dressed in a peachy abiye (Islamic evening dress) and matching hijab by Turkish designer Minel Aşk. Other familiar faces on-hand at the event included social media influencers such as Hodan Yusuf (@cheeseandxalwo), Sagal Ibrahim (@sagaleeyaa), Mariah Idrissi (@mariahidrissi), Leena Asad (@withloveleena) and Sena Sever (@senaseveer). The modest fashion revolution was in full swing as influencers sat front row at fashions shows and industry talks to capture catwalk looks and event highlights for their combined Instagram audience of over a million followers. According to the 2015-2016 State of the Global Islamic Economy report, the modest fashion sector has a net worth of $230 billion, which is predicted to skyrocket to $327 billion by 2019, thanks to events that create awareness of the industry such as MLMFW.
The refreshing thing about the modest fashions that were presented on catwalks was that they were completely diverse, and the hijab was worn in many different shapes, styles and colours. Here’s what co-creator of MLMFW and modest fashion consultant Franka Soeria of Think Fashion had to say about her ambitions for challenging the perception of what Islamic clothing looks like:
“The shows illustrated how diverse modest fashion style is. Some designers were heavily defined by cultural influences, while others fused East-West elements, producing modern daywear and glamorous evening dresses that adhere to Islamic principles, yet appeal far beyond.”
No doubt this event will spur on change within the fashion industry so that Muslim women’s eclectic style choices can be heard and more importantly, catered for, in the years to come.
Bring on MLMFW 2018!