DUBAI: Designers, celebrities and bloggers from around the world are gearing up for the 2020 Modanisa Istanbul Modest Fashion Week (IMFW), an event aimed to tackle the stereotypes that surround modest dressing by celebrating and showcasing modern modest designers from around the world.
The third edition of the event, which was co-founded by Franka Soeria — founder of Alahijab.com fashion — and Turkish entrepreneur Özlem Şahin in collaboration with modest fashion brand Modanisa in 2016, is set to take place from April 2-5 in Istanbul’s Zorlu Center.
The fashion platform has invited modest influencers, retail vendors and tastemakers from across the world, including Jordan, Kuwait, the UAE, India and Singapore, to partake in this year’s event. Among the special guests is Saudi Arabia’s “global citizen” Sophia the Robot, who will be positioned front row for the runways of Turkey’s avant-garde couturier Özlem Süer, Jordan’s Zeina Ali and fashion blogger-turned-designer Roza Jo, among others.
Additionally, the robot will also participate as a speaker on a panel that explores the growing relationship between fashion and technology.
“Ever since Saudi Arabia first introduced Sophia the Robot to the world, she has become a global sensation. She is synonymous with the future, which is a major theme at this year’s Modanisa Istanbul Modest Fashion Week,” shares event director Havva Kahraman with Arab News. “We are super excited that Sophia will be attending. She will be in the front row taking in the latest modest trends,” she added.
It won’t be the first time the AI creation from Hanson Robotics attends a fashion week. In 2018, Sophia was spotted at Alexander Wang’s Fall 2019 show in New York, wearing Wang’s boxy blazer style, with metal safety pins forming hearts on both of her sleeves, next to artists Teyana Taylor and 21 Savage.
Meanwhile, Sophia isn’t the only star attendees of IMFW can look forward to spotting on and off the runways. Other highlights include hijab-wearing model of Algerian descent Feriel Moulai, who is set to grace the catwalk in Istanbul.
Over the last few years, the fashion industry seems to have tuned into the often-underrepresented demographic that comprises Muslim women and others for whom dressing conservatively is a personal or cultural choice. With the rise of hijab-wearing models such as Halima Aden or Ugbad Abdi, major brands are also keen to be part of the modest fashion movement, which is estimated as one of the fastest growing markets.
Nike has released a Nike Pro hijab, while Burberry tapped hijab-wearing model Ikram Abdi Omar as part of their festive campaign in 2019. Noticing an untapped market, major labels have finally started to advertise and reach out to Muslim women and others who prefer to dress in a more modest manner.
IMFW was first held in May 2016. Since then, the platform has travelled to multiple international destinations including London, Dubai and Jakarta.