Hijabi Models Rock the Runway at Tokyo Modest Fashion Show

Intricately beaded gowns, floral patterned tunics, and hijabs in every hue made their debut at Tokyo Modest Fashion Show — the first fashion show in Japan for Muslimahs. The two-day event, a part of Halal Expo Japan, featured an impressive range of collections, from embroidered, mix-textured gowns to casual wear in neutral shades.

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Designers from Singapore and Malaysia showcased their modest wear to cater to a growing Muslim presence in Japan.

“Tokyo Fashion Show was an eye-opening experience for my company,” says Fatimah Mohsin, owner of Fatimah Mohsin Singapore. “The intention of the trip was to solely expose my brand in the modest fashion scene that was up-and-coming in Japan.”

Banded waist maxi dresses and chiffon hijabs trended on the runway. British lifestyle blogger, BubbleGumHijab, was on deck between shows to lead hijab styling sessions. Locals were dazzled by the chic variations of wearing the headscarf.

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“We had our own ‘let’s try hijab’ [session] among all the visitors and the acceptance from the Japanese was incredible,” says Afiq Iskandar Razizad, Business Development Director for Rina Salleh Clothing. “Some of them bought the shawls after the session. Some of them came out from the exhibition hall wearing hijab after trying it.”

Japanese retailers have noticed the spending power of their estimated 100,000 Muslim residents. In June 2016, Uniqlo launched a line of hijabs and modest wear — a collaboration with British-Japanese fashion designer, Hana Tajima — at their Japan locations. The launch followed the success of its debut in Malaysia, Singapore, the U.S. and the U.K. with broad appeal.   

“Modest fashion has been on the rise internationally, and not just among Muslims,” says Mohsin. “Perhaps people are paying more attention to it because of the increasing popularity of modest fashion in non-majority Muslim markets. The misconception that modest fashion can’t be cool, stylish or elegant is, now more than ever, being challenged and we are glad to be driving this change in Singapore and the region.”

Tokyo Modest Fashion Show is expected to return later this year.  

Written by Zeenie Malik

Zeenie Malik

Zeenie is a Pakistani-American journalist from New York, covering Muslim and South Asian news and culture. When she's not putting pen to paper, she's hosting charity events and watching '90s teen movies.