Muslims make up 23% of the world’s population and it’s no surprise that the Muslim fashion industry has increased at an alarming rate in recent years. In comparison to 5 years ago, many more Muslim public figures have debuted themselves into global frontiers. These Muslims come from a wide range of backgrounds and occupations—athletes, fashion designers and popstars.
The world seems to have warmed up to the presence of modestly dressed public figures such as Ibtihaj Muhammad, a Muslim American sabre fencer who made history by being the first American woman to compete in the Olympics wearing a hijab. The world has also had the pleasure of listening to the soothing sounds of Yuna’s music, a Muslim Malaysian pop-star who created an avalanche of support back home after the release of her duet with world famous artist, Usher. Lastly, Dina Tokio, a YouTuber of Egyptian and English mixed heritage made waves in the YouTube community after being part of YouTube’s ‘Made For You’ campaign last year alongside a diverse selection of other YouTube content creators.
Turning the spotlight to local progress, the Malaysian fashion industry alone has proved to be a thriving member of the global Muslim fashion industry. Almost every Malaysian has dabbled in fashion designing—releasing heaps of hijab and clothing lines. Mostly dealing with clothing, fashion and fragrances. Malaysian actress, host and businesswoman, Neelofa seemingly initiated this craze with her ever so successful hijab and fashion line Naelofar Hijab that launched in 2014.
We’ve also seen participation by international brands such as Dolce & Gabbana in acknowledging their Muslim consumers by coming out with an abaya range to appeal to their Middle Eastern and Muslim customers. Not to forget, H&M included a hijabi model in their campaign, Mariah Idrissi who embodied class, cool and composure in the 30 second H&M advertisement. Joining the group of international fashion brands that have represented the Muslim community is, Uniqlo. The Japanese brand released an elegant and modest earthy-toned line in collaboration with Hana Tajima. The line was hugely successful and not only attracted the Muslim but also non-Muslims.
Another contributing factor to the Muslim fashion industry is the presence of fashion shows that put the focus on Muslim designers around the world. A recent example would be Istanbul Fashion Week where many fashion designers put forth their designs. Modest fashion shows have also paved the way for Muslim designers and strengthened the industry. Recently, Anniesa Hasibuan, and Indonesian designer represented her nation and religion at the New York Fashion Week. She made history by being the first Indonesian designer to bring forth Islamic design on the internationally acclaimed runway. In addition to that, the models sporting her apparel were all donned in pretty pastel hijabs, dropping jaws of all the spectators.
Muslim fashion does not look like it will be experiencing any setbacks anytime soon. It’s definitely a force to be reckoned with.