“Modest Western Fashion Isn’t a Contradiction” – European Designer Bousnina Shared Important Insights at JMFW

A week ago Jakarta’s Modest Fashion Week took place in Indonesia. Lots of influencers and fashion lovers attended the event, but of course designers couldn’t be missing either. Imen Bousnina, a young European designer, came all the way from Austria to show her collection. We spoke with Bousnina about the difficulties of being a fashion designer and modest fashion in Europe.

Imen Bousnina
Picture by Asma Aiad

“One of the difficulties is to enter the fashion world as a young fashion designer”, says Bousnina. “It’s not easy to get entrance to fashion events and shows where you can show your vision of design to the world. It gets even more difficult when you’re trying to start a business. You have to find people with the same interest as you, who could help you with establishing your brand in the fashion world.”

Bousnina points out how important it is in her branch to be unique and different from others, and how you’re able to create something new. “Therefore it is very important that events like modest fashion weeks exist. I was very lucky and I am very thankful that I got the chance to join the modest fashion week in UAE and Indonesia. It is great to have a platform where you can find people who support each other and who really try their best to change the fashion industry by making amazing fashion for everyone.”

Modest fashion in Europe

“Another difficulty, especially for me, as a modest fashion designer in Europe, is that most people think that modesty and fashion don’t work with each other. But it does. Even big brands like Dolce Gabbana, Marc Jacobs and Gucci showed us the last years that modest fashion is a big trend now.” Bousnina continues that modest fashion isn’t only for Muslim consumers, but also for every women that isn’t willing to show too much skin, but still wants to be fashionable at the same time. “For this reason, I also want to start a fashion business here in Europe. Because I love to show the world that modest fashion and western fashion aren’t a contradiction.”

In Bousnina’s opinion, the most important thing to overcome these difficulties is to have role models. Designers who are already went through these complications, who inspire and motivate you to work hard for this position. “I am glad that I have role models who already have these experiences in the western world and who really work hard to engage in something big like in Germany, Meriem and Selma Lebdiri or in Russia, Dilyara Sadrieva. It is so motivating to follow their career and their success in the fashion world. I really hope that someday I will become a role model for other young women too.”

“Comparing to the last two years I think modest fashion is getting common. More and more people are doing apprenticeships in this field, because they realized that modest fashion can also be remade in Europe. I was lucky enough that I got the chance to represent Austria at the Dubai modest fashion week, so for me it was easier to join the fashion world.” Bousnina tells us that modest fashion already exist in Austria, but it is mostly imported from Islamic countries like Turkey. “The only difference between my fashion and the imported fashion is that I do fashion for all women, regardless of their religion, culture, age or skin color. It is important for me to make fashion for every woman, not only Muslim women.”

Young and fashionable

“I guess I just started at the right place at the right time. Modest fashion is new, it’s a big trend right now, especially in Europe.” As Bousnina already mentioned you have to be unique, fresh and different from others. “The modest fashion trend is very convenient. I also got the pleasure to meet very inspiring people who are supporting me. It’s also a big responsibility. Like I said: it’s my mission to make modest fashion mainstream in the fashion world and to change the picture of Muslim women. I really hope that in the future women are free to wear what they want. I also think that modest fashion is a great weapon to show the world that Muslim and non-Muslim women are strong, independent and fashionable.”

Written by Hayat El Khattabi

Hayat Jamal is a 22-year-old History student. She likes to read, write and practice sports.