Modest Fashion

A Closer Look

The numbers speak for themselves: a global market estimated to grow to an annual spend of $484 billion (£398 billion) by 2019; specialist collections successfully launched by major brands from H&M to Nike and Uniqlo; Pinterest searches for the term seeing a 500% increase in the first half of 2018 alone, and dedicated fashion week events taking place annually in locations from London to Istanbul, Dubai and Jakarta… But what is modest fashion?

For the uninitiated, the term might bring to mind vague images of floor-skimming garments in muted colours, but in reality this dynamic and increasingly high profile sector of the global fashion market is far more diverse than that.

‘Modest fashion’ is actually a broad term for a mode of dressing that starts with covering up to a greater or lesser extent, but which is also closely associated with designer and vintage styles, bold prints and colours, directional accessories and statement jewellery. Modest fashion is no longer exclusively associated with women of any particular faith, and it is not a trend; rather, it’s increasingly recognised as a cultural move toward individuality, comfort and the broader prerogative of women to dress for themselves and – crucially – to define for themselves how their style reflects their personal values.

Writing in British Vogue, newly-published author and Instagram sensation (with 1.4 million followers) Dina Torkia describes a personal mission to align her love of fashion with the choice to dress modestly which resonated with women all over the world: “Little by little, I found my style groove… Suddenly, there were hundreds of us, then thousands, then a million, all trying to figure out not just our place in society but what on earth to wear for Eid.”

While Torkia and other social media influencers like Saufeeya Goodson, Marwa Bitalgi and vlogger NabiilaBee are catalysing a compelling global conversation among women who want to combine their fashion instincts with their spiritual and cultural values, the emerging label Leem is perfectly placed to connect with women who are seeking out modest fashion’s style and sensibility.

In designing the branding and store interiors for Leem, the Public team aimed to create a contemporary aesthetic which would feel elegant and understated. With echoes of the luxury boutique environment, we applied a refined palette of tones and textures to both the graphics and the store interiors, utilising soft whites and greens, pale wood, rose gold and pearlised plaster.

By making quality and detail our main focus – from the polished concrete of the display plinths, to the custom-made garment hanger, and a bespoke graphic motif which references hand stitching – we worked to reflect the priorities of modest fashion’s discerning, directional and ever-growing market.