Social Media and Fashion Influencers drive Modest Fashion industry to over $230bn in value
Dubai, October 12, 2016 – A high-profile panel discussion examined the opportunities and trends in the global ‘Modest Fashion’ industry as part of the Global Islamic Economy Summit, held in Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai, on October 11-12, 2016.
Estimated to be worth over $230 billion worldwide, the Modest Fashion industry has seen its roots in Islamic traditional wear, and has been reimagined by designers and influencers to an extent that buyers and followers are spread across the globe, and hail from Muslim as well as non-Muslim cultures.
Moderated by Ritu Upadhyay, Middle East Correspondent of Women’s Wear Daily, the panel featured UAE-based global modest fashion influencer, Soha Mohamed Taha – SohaMT on Instagram – and Kerim Ture, Founder of Turkey-based global modest fashion e-Commerce store, Modanisa.com. “Modest Fashion is easily the fastest-growing trend in the global fashion industry, and in recent years, world-renowned fashion labels such as D&G, DKNY, H&M, Zara and many more have awoken to the opportunities that exist in this space. This has been further bolstered by the rise of social media and the emergence of several global fashion influencers from traditional Islamic markets such as the GCC. Today, we are seeing a confluence of these – labels are looking to work with Middle Eastern and Islamic fashion influencers, and more and more customers are looking to Influencers and brands to fulfil their need for fashion trends and designer labels, but within the Islamic context,” said Upadhyay.
Soha Taha, a modest fashion Influencer with over 170,000 followers on Instagram, and who has recently started her own fashion label and online store to fulfil customer demands globally, says that this was a natural move considering the unique requirements of the modest fashion consumer. “The need for modest fashion among Muslim women gave rise to an all-new industry, and social media became the platform through which I could share my take on the latest trends and instantly communicate with those who valued my opinion. Followers became buyers, and today I receive orders from and deliver to more than 75 countries around the world,” said Taha.
Modanisa.com gets more than 9 million visitors a month, and carries more than 45 designers and 300 brands. Kerim Ture, Founder, said: “This sector has been seeing a strong upward trend since we began in 2011, and we have even created the Istanbul Modest Fashion Week as a response to this trend. Even with the groundswell, we believe that this is a largely untapped sector, and we are currently serving only four per cent of the addressable market. Whether it is fashion in daily wear or for special occasions, the modest fashion consumer looks to us and to Influencers to bring them options, and we also play a key role in creating awareness around specific culturally unique trends that may not be seen elsewhere.”
Social Media platforms have emerged as the communications media of choice, as influencers and brands are able to engage with the consumer in real-time. This has also created a community of like-minded individuals. During instances such as the recent ‘Burkini Ban’ debate in France, this community saw strong support from Muslims and non-Muslims around the world, and both Taha and Ture reported increased sales in response to this socio-political issue.
Instagram and Snapchat were touted as the best platforms to engage with the modest fashion enthusiast community, and video content sees the most engagement when it comes to proactive content sharing from brands and sellers. This content includes designers and influencers sharing thoughts on designs, fabric, and patterns, as well as ‘How To’ videos to demonstrate the correct wearing of scarves and gowns to young girls or non-Muslim consumers.
“An influencer in this niche area needs to find their authentic voice and style, and not be afraid to change or experiment. Modest fashion need not come from only modest designers, but can actually be created by understanding the core concepts and mixing-and-matching from anywhere,” said Soha Taha.
Modanisa.com is looking to brick-and-mortar as the next stage of their evolution. “We have built our community of more than 2 million followers on Facebook and 25 million views on YouTube, and are now looking at reaching our customers through a chain of retail stores. We have begun in Turkey, and will be bringing these stores across the region in the near-term”, said Karim Ture.
The panellists all agreed on the need for authentic and unique voices, opinions, and thoughts emerging from the modest fashion enthusiast community at this critical juncture. Rather than create a network of clones, the diversity within the region needs to be celebrated, and this calls for the emergence of modest fashion influencers who are able to blend global trends with local traditions and culture.
© Press Release 2016