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Looking back on Dubai’s dazzling Modest Fashion Week

The catwalk alone showcased more than 300 modest looks led by leaders in the modest fashion world. (Photo supplied)
DUBAI: Held in Burj Park, alongside the glittering lights of the Burj Khalifa, Dubai’s first Modest Fashion Week was a showstopper. For two days, on Dec. 8 and 9, modest fashion designers, influencers and enthusiasts participated in more than 40 fashion shows, 50 pop up stores, talks with more than 100 influences and fashion and art exhibitions from 20 countries. The cat walk alone showcased more than 300 modest looks led by leaders in the modest fashion world, including Selma Sari by Modanisa, Canadian modest teen brand — Yours Truly, modest brand Huw Roman Tokyo and US based Fllumae as well as contemporary ready-to-wear Malaysian label, aere, followed by Kuwaiti brand Anotah.
Modest style is no different than mainstream style in its essence and core and, as modest style becomes more mainstream, influencers and designers are creating a style that is accessible to fashionistas, modest millennials and mainstream style enthusiasts. As the founder of faith-conscious label RANAZONE, Rana Al-Sayyed said in a Modest Fashion Week panel discussion on Style Talk, “modest fashion is new to the world, so we always need to bring something new (and) as style is an art, each one of us from our own cultures, languages and places can use style to express who we are.”

Stunning @huwromantokyo on @modestfashionweeks stage #dmfw #dubaimodestfashionweek

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Dubai aims to be a hub of this multi-billion dollar modest retail industry in the Middle East and this two-day event was officially opened by Sheikha Azza bint Rashid Al-Nuaimi, Mouza Obaid Ghubash, Diana Haddad and founders Franka Soeria and Özlem Şahin of Think Fashion as well as Arif Ebrahim of Red Connect.
This event was marked with an influx of social media bloggers and influencers as the effect of these platforms on fashion and beauty cannot be denied. As Manal Chinutay, a beauty blogger known best for her make-up and hijab tutorials explained in her talk on style, “social media has inspired me to take a different turn with my style and there are so many different ways to dress modestly so it’s important not to be discouraged,” if you are on your way to defining your own modest style.

@sumayya.sss on the runway of @modestfashionweeks Beautiful diversity on the stage... We are One. Photo by @rooful #dmfw #dubaimodestfashionweek

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Modest style took center stage as the catwalk lit and the future of modest fashion is bright, beautiful and detailed. Opening up with Doris Dorothea, a premium leather brand, influencers and modest icons took to the catwalk showed their style alongside this premium exotic leather band. Moving on to Studio Teh, an up and coming modest fashion line for women, models brought life to multi-dimensional designs, with movement designed through layers, lace, and tulle.
Shows continued late into the evening with the event finally closing after 11 p.m., marking the end of a celebration and unveiling of modest style. Although considered a success, it was noted by Chinutay on her personal instagram, that a focus for future modest fashion week events can be an increase in diversity to represent the full mélange of the modest community. “I was the only black woman to be flown out and participate… The lack of black or deeper complexion Muslims that get invited to these events almost seems normal. This isn’t and really needs to change… as we are meant to represent one ummah/community.”

Talented modest model @fatiimamao as one of the muse of @fllumae from US on the runway of @modestfashionweeks #dmfw #dubaimodestfashionweeks

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As Dubai Modest Fashion Week looks to next year, the focus will be on continued growth and development. As Arif Ebrahim, founder of organizing partner Red Connect, explains, “After the success of the first DMFW, we can’t wait to bring back Modest Fashion Week in Dubai and do it all bigger and better for next year. Watch this space as we are currently looking to bring Modest Fashion Week to further dynamic locations around the world!”
Overall, “we are thrilled with the success of Dubai Modest Fashion Week (as) this weekend we have welcomed modest fashion industries’ shining stars from the around the world to this truly innovative city. With (Dubai’s) position as the center for modest fashion in the GCC, this is another step in strengthening the movements already burgeoning influence on the mainstream fashion industry,” said Franka Soeria, DMFW co-founder and co-creator of Think Fashion.
Özlem Şahin, DMFW co-founder, added: “Our aim with Modest Fashion Week is to engage international and local ground-breaking fashion talents, to show the world that trendsetting design and modest fashion go hand-in-hand. The past two days have undoubtedly highlighted the diversity and depth of this fast-growing industry and further cemented its influence.”

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