• Maryam Isa-Haslett


Women from a variety of backgrounds have been covering up for years for a variety of reasons. Some faiths advocate modest attire. Other women aim to reject the fashion industry's mantra of "sex sells" by adopting what they see as a more empowering choice.

While "Muslim women were absolutely the impetus," there's increasing demand from others as well. "This is a trend that's here to stay."

"The troublesome part is being told how to dress and in the implicit sexualisation of women's bodies as opposed to allowing autonomy and self-expression. "These are impulses we should resist. People should try to figure out how to best express themselves."

But women who opt to dress less provocatively say that they feel empowered by their sartorial choices.

Pinterest UK tells me that searches for "modest fashion" are up 600% since the beginning of this year. The global modest fashion market is already reportedly worth hundreds of billions and is set to scale up by gargantuan proportions over the next few years.

When you step outside of this specific realm, it's plain to see that runways, cool brands and street style stars alike are also noticeably embracing big shapes, covered-up silhouettes and creative layering. Modest fashion is everywhere. But what exactly is it? This movement has been picking up the pace for nigh on a decade, but there's still a murkiness about what it means to be a modest dresser, what it looks like and how it's affecting style-conscious girls right now.

However, once you put aside the misconception that modest fashion is only tied to religious and religo-ethnic desires, many of the experts I tapped for information were quick to stress that covering up doesn't have to equate looking boring or avoiding trends. the myth that modest fashion "can't be on trend, or that designers don't design for the modest dresser.

The rise of modest fashion, specifically in the case of young religious women, was born through the need for more fashionable clothing options. A growing number of Muslim designers and social media stars such as Maryam's Essential decided to fill gaps that they have spotted in the market, using their platform to gain influence and set up online stores.

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