Modest fashion is big business, providing major opportunities for clothing brands and retailers to tap into a growing demographic of young, often tech-savvy, consumers searching for products that cater to their unique needs.
This market is often associated with women looking for clothes that are stylish and fashionable, but also in line with their religious and cultural beliefs. However, it could be equally relevant to people who simply want to dress conservatively – covering up their arms and legs, for example – without sacrificing style and luxury.
Any fashion brand hoping to succeed in this market must have a strong understanding of what really matters to consumers and how to meet those demands.
The Modest Fashion Phenomenon
Modest fashion has experienced a particularly strong period of growth in recent years, with an increasing number of brands and retailers responding to the clear demand for these products.
According to the State of the Global Islamic Economy Report 2018/19, Muslims spent $2.1 trillion across the food, beverage and lifestyle sectors in 2017. This figure is expected to reach $3 trillion by 2023. While food and beverage is by far the biggest area of Muslim spend (US$1.3 trillion), fashion is in second place, with $270 billion spent in 2017 and $361 billion forecast by 2023.
This growth has been fuelled by major events such as Dubai Modest Fashion Week, which took place from March 7th to 9th 2019 and featured appearances by a range of well-known designers and influencers.
New modest fashion styles and trends will also be on display at London’s Muslim Shopping Festival, which will come to the Olympia on April 13th and 14th 2019.
Events like these provide a platform to support the ongoing growth of global ecommerce in fashion, with The Modist providing a powerful example of how designers and retailers can cater to this unique audience by balancing modesty with style, elegance and luxury.
For consumers today, modest doesn’t mean unfashionable. With the brand promise “Modest Fashion, Modern Thinking”, The Modist has grown into one of the leading shopping destinations in high-end fashion for this market, showcasing eclectic and exclusive collections from global brands ranging from Danish designer Cecilie Bahnsen to the Canadian-Turkish Erdem.
Modern technologies and social media platforms have played a crucial role in the growth of modest fashion and its emergence into the mainstream, with influencer marketing at the forefront.
Brands that want to tap into this market need to design their promotional campaigns and communicate with consumers in a way that shows an understanding of what motivates them. This requires meticulous attention to paid media, search marketing and localisation tactics.
Modest Fashion Marketing
Visual content such as product videos and images will undeniably be a major part of any fashion marketing campaign. However, when it comes to a niche market such as modest fashion, it’s essential for brands to create an emotional connection with their audience.
Use of language has a vital role to play in this. If your brand is targeting opportunities in the global modest fashion sector, first you need to feel confident that you can engage with consumers and tailor your marketing content in a way that feels authentic and relevant.
This is likely to involve expert localisation of your website and the various assets hosted on it, including imagery, along with well-researched and carefully planned strategies for international SEO, social media, email and other channels.
Fundamentally, you need to invest the time and resources required to grasp the intricacies of this demographic and incorporate that understanding into media planning.
Some of the world’s biggest fashion brands have entered the modest fashion sector, but even those with huge budgets and global reach have fallen short when it comes to truly comprehending what matters to the target audience.
NabiilaBee, a popular influencer and vlogger, told The Drum she was disappointed when she saw that ranges launched by well-known names featured dresses and skirts with large slits, and arms that were short-sleeved or sheer.
“Something that has been clearly marketed towards the Muslim consumer is not fit for purpose,” she said. “There has to be an authentic engagement with the needs of the consumer. A one-size-fits-all approach marketed towards modest-dressing Muslims unfortunately will fall short of the mark.”
With ecommerce increasingly dominating the retail market, especially for fashion, serving ads and website content that is appropriately researched, tested and localised for the target consumer is absolutely critical to success.
If your business is preparing to enter the modest fashion market, contact Locaria to find out how we can boost your chances of success with services ranging from online market research to multimedia translation.