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Brief Published: 20 Nov 2018

Museums Wake Up to the Modest Fashion Moment

Contemporary Muslim Fashions

Contemporary Muslim Fashions at San Francisco’s de Young Museum shines a spotlight on the booming modest fashion market, tracing its cultural and economic significance across couture, streetwear and sports apparel.

The multimedia exhibition, which is on view until January 6, acts as celebration of Muslim women’s fashion, exploring the often-misunderstood world of modest dress codes, customs and lifestyles around the world.

The 80-piece display includes designs from the UK, Italy, Saudi Arabia and Dubai, ranging from Valentino wedding dresses and traditional satin ensembles by Indonesian designer Dian Pelangi, to Nike-designed hijabs and youthful sportswear pieces by London designer Sarah Elenany.

Going beyond the designs themselves, the exhibition features an area dedicated to social media’s impact on the industry, highlighting the bloggers and influencers who have become role models for those under-represented in traditional media. 

The Muslim fashion consumer represents a powerful economic and cultural force. With Muslims’ global consumer spend expected to reach $3tn by 2023 (Thomson Reuters, 2018), brand and retailers have been increasingly taking note, creating product offerings that appeal to this widespread demographic. However, an exploration of the topic behind the consumption is largely overdue, with Contemporary Muslim Fashions the first of its kind to interrogate the subject with the aim of dispelling assumptions and stereotypes.

For more on the unprecedented scope of modest fashion, see Fashion & Beauty: Through a Modest Lens.