Modest Fashion Fulfils Irish Muslims `Eid Demand

DUBLIN – As `Eid Al-Adha approaches, many Irish Muslim women will find suitable clothes to wear for the feast thanks to Amaliah, a new fashion and lifestyle website for young Muslim women.

“I see fashion and the way you dress as a form of empowerment,” London based Nafisa Bakkar, who founded Amaliah with her sister Selina, told Irish Times on Wednesday, August 23.

Launched one year ago, the website has become an overnight success and now has over 30,000 visitors a month.

Named by Forbes as One to Watch and featured on CNN, Metro and Wired, Amaliah now has some 70 contributors and around 200 retailers and has been described as the site where hijabs meet high fashion.

“We are not here to tell you what is or is not modest, we are just here to make the journey a little easier”, they say.

A report by Thomson Reuters estimates by 2020 the Islamic fashion market will be worth around $300 billion, so a lot of money can be made catering for modest dress and clothing showing less flesh.

To win a large share of the hijabi fashion pie, many designers were seeing new potentials in the growing market.

Uniqlo, for instance, collaborated on a range of flowing skirts, breezy culottes, and hijabs with the British Japanese Muslim designer Hana Tajima two years ago.

Other brands like Dolce & Gabbana launched a luxury line of hijabs and abayas as did Netaporter and Moda Operandi.

“Modesty trends have definitely lingered around for the past three or four years,” Nafisa said.

“The whole layering look, for instance, (is an example) and you have to question whether all this could be a by-product of the grass roots modesty fashion community pushing upwards (into the mainstream).

“What we do in Amaliah is to take pieces and put them together – so that you can layer up the slip dress trend and make it accessible for Muslim women. Fashion is such a big part of our identity so it’s how you make it easier for a group that is so scrutinized for the way they dress. It is about being able to offer choices.”