‘Modesty’ the new fashion trend: Is this some misguided solidarity with Muslim women?

‘Modesty’ the new fashion trend: Is this some misguided solidarity with Muslim women?
What's old is new: Is this the next look? (Image: Wikipedia)

Modest dressing is a global cultural movement on the rise.

A search of the word modest on Instagram opens a treasure trove of evidence. Sensitive layering, long silhouettes, raised necklines — so far, over half a million people have hashtagged the term modest fashion below their photos, and multiple spin-offs (modest dressing, modesty movement, modest style) are widely in use.

At a glance, modest dressing appears to refer to a trend seen predominantly among young Muslims, though on closer inspection the movement includes women of many different faiths, and sometimes has nothing to do with religion at all.

Trend analysts have dubbed what they interpret as a new wave of feminism the “pluri-empowerment” factor, says Iza Dezon, a trend forecaster at Peclers Paris.

“An empowered woman is no longer subject to a specific definition, nor must she live by a specific set of values,” she explains. “We’re seeing the opening up of what empowerment means, allowing women to create their own definitions.”

The modest movement has been gaining steam for a few years now and the hijab has become a recognized symbol. In 2014 DKNY launched a bespoke modest fashion collection. In 2016, Dolce & Gabbana released a line of luxury hijabs and abayas.

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