What Is Real Diversity? Mvslim’s Modest Fashion Forum Started a Dialogue in Belgium on Inclusiveness

Modest Fashion Weeks are now held globally, with its second year taken place in London this year, quoted “arguably no less important than London Fashion Week” by Vogue. But, despite modest fashion being celebrated in such wonderful ways internationally, many in the fashion industry are not yet aware of what modest fashion even means.

Questions like ‘how do we approach the market’, ‘where did this trend even come from, ‘is this relevant to us’, arise. The inaugural launch of the first Modest Fashion Forum was held just a week ago, on 23rd November, to provide those insights, and shake clichés that only a conference consisting of expert speakers, thought-provoking talks and engaging  discussions can achieve.


MFF2018 received considerable media coverage from the likes of Flanders Today, Marie Claire, Fashion United, Retail Detail, Knack Weekend and many more. This opened the floodgates for a dialogue before the event was even launched, with news publications learning themselves and informing its readers of what modest fashion is, how it came to be and why it’s an incredibly diverse niche.

Mariah Idrissi and Enaam Ali

Sarah Dimani, a Belgian-based modest fashion influencer, hit the nail on the head when explaining who modest fashion is for during her talk “religious women, non-religious women, young women, and old women, white women, black women or Asian women- it doesn’t really matter. So if you want to know what modest fashion is, it’s not a woman in hijab and abaya”.

Sarah Dimani and host Sarah Aitallah

The one-day conference that lasted from 09:30 to 17:00 covered much about Modest Fashion and more. During Mariah Idrissi’s live Q&A session she explained how she became a voice for modest fashion “if this whole industry has existed for so many years before I did anything with H&M and yet only until that campaign came out, it was like the mainstream recognized what modest fashion finally is”.

The end of the day culminated with Kaat Debo, the Director of MoMu moderating the discussion on the future of the modest fashion industry- and the panelists were: Sagal Shire, (London-based Modest Fashion influencer), Elspeth Jenkins (fashion editor at Marie Claire) and Enaam Ali (co-founder of Nesci). Kaat Debo raised some interesting comparisons to when Japanese designers entered the Parisian fashion scene in the 80s: Yamamoto, Comme Des Garcons that these designers also certainly practiced modest fashion. Albeit, heavily influenced by traditional Japanese dress like the kimono that keeps the body covered.

Kaat Debo

Ultimately, all of the speakers’ talks echoed with the same resounding message that Modest Fashion is not restricted by cultures, religions and location- it’s something that’s embraced by women of all backgrounds. A day that inspired many, from retailers and designers, to aspiring young fashionista’s and journalists interested in diversity.

Here are some extra pictures, enjoy!

Young Muslim women interested in the fashion industry
Sagal Shire, Hanan Challouki, Sarah Dimani, Mariah Idrissi
What does diversity mean to you?
Mvslim behind the scenes
Interesting discussion on inclusiveness

Special thanks to Richa Shah!

Written by Mvslim

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