While modest fashion certainly isn’t a new idea, up until recent years, there hasn’t been much of an outlet or fashion-forward shopping destination for its followers. It's been thought of as being the provenance of those who dress according to their religious beliefs—but that's all changing.
A little less than two years ago, Dolce & Gabbana unveiled its first line of hijabs and abayas. Uniqlo has been putting out seasonal collaborative collections with Muslim designer Hana Tajima since 2015, and, more recently, we’ve seen mainstream sportswear brands incorporate modest dressing into their offerings.
While this is all promising in an industry that is just beginning to take major steps toward inclusivity and diversity, what about the designer-savvy, luxury-loving, and modest customer who wants to get her shopping done in one place? What about the girl who wants to wear runway pieces while adhering to her religion or learn how to incorporate runway inspiration into her personal, modest style? That’s where Dubai-based online retailer The Modist comes into play.
A little over a year ago, CEO and founder Ghizlan Guenez started The Modist, the first global online destination for luxury modest fashion after she felt the obvious void in the market. “I have spent my life surrounded by women who dress modestly and who love fashion, be it women in my family, friends, or colleagues,” says Guenez. “As someone who prefers this style of dressing, I have experienced firsthand how frustrating and time-consuming it is to try and find clothes that offer both the functionality and fashion, so I decided to build a solution to a problem that I understood too well.”
At The Modist and in its own online magazine, The Mod, you’ll find a dazzling array of pieces from labels like 3.1 Phillip Lim, Marni, Ganni, Christopher Kane, and many, many more (over 75 different brands, to be exact). The expertly curated selection keeps things like hemlines and sleeve length in mind but doesn’t skimp on the prints, embellishments, and overall sartorial magic. “Ultimately, we are a brand with a purpose that’s centered around empowering women’s choices and embracing diversity,” says Guenez. Of course, this is in addition to being the leader in fashion-forward modest dress.
And its success proves its need in today’s retail atmosphere. Shipping to over 120 different countries, Modist has become wildly popular with women all over the world. “The Modist woman is diverse. She is confident, fashionable, and modern. She is everywhere in the world and dresses modestly for a myriad of reasons whether it is religion or just a style preference. Our muses are also women of substance who drive change and change the narrative.” These very muses are whom Guenez and her team choose to feature in The Mod.
But if you’re looking for a true definition of modest fashion, Guenez and The Modist won’t be giving you one. As Guenez explains:
We don’t define modesty because we believe it is a wide spectrum, and different women choose to sit on different parts of that spectrum. Surely, there are broad parameters like the length of sleeves, hemlines, and neckline, but it goes beyond that. This is why an intimate understanding of this woman is important when creating the offering. Women dress modestly for various reasons; faith is one of them, but they also dress this way at times because they find it age-appropriate, relevant to the workplace, a chicer way of dressing, and the list goes on. So, whilst the trend is currently there, even when it changes, women who dress this way will still continue to prefer a modest approach to fashion.
Ultimately, The Modist serves to inspire women from all backgrounds and walks of life with an array of style interests. “It’s important to know that you don’t need to compromise on your style if you choose to dress modestly," Guenez says. "I would invite them to visit The Modist not just to shop, but to be inspired by our styling, because, ultimately, whether it’s the styling on site or our editorials, much of it is done to inspire women.”
Below, check out our favorite pieces from The Modist’s spring offering.
Photos: Tory Rust
Stylist: Calvy Click
Makeup: Sofiia Strykova
Photo Assistant: Sarah Murray
Kadija is wearing a Bouguessa dress and her own hijab.