London Modest Fashion Week 2017

Another flurry of modest fashion shows featuring known as well as up and coming designers took place in London recently. It is the second fashion event sponsored by Turkish clothing brand Modanisa. The first one took place in Istanbul last year.

 Fatumina Said is a modest fashion influencer, henna artist, and phd student who recently attended the event, and this is her review.

I was given the exciting opportunity to attend Modanisa LMFW 2017. Following the great success of Istanbul Modest Fashion Week in 2016, I was really looking forward to meeting the modest fashion influencers who are changing the perception of hijabis around the world, through the power of their work and social media.

On the 14th of April, I was invited to an intimate fashion high tea event held at the very prestigious Ritz London. As I entered the hotel, I was guided to this very beautiful room, with a beautifully decorated table at the centre of the room and a violinist playing on the side, as the guests were joyfully interacting with each other.

As more people entered, I had the opportunity to talk to the other influencers including Halima Aden, the first hijab-wearing model on the catwalks of Milan Fashion Week and Kanye West’s Yeezy runaway as well as Melanie of HauteHijab.

It was great to see so many successful Muslim women achieving great things, all in one room. The high tea was then followed by a talk by Samah Safi Bayazid, a winning filmmaker from Washington. She gave us a preview of her: “Just Like You” PSA video saying: “ This PSA video is dedicated to all the Muslim women who are unapologetic about their identity and proud about their identity and are proud to be Muslim during these difficult times. It is imperative that we own our narrative and share our reality with the world. Let us show the world who we are!”

Following the high tea, we were all taken around on our own private London Tour! I really enjoyed interacting with the bloggers, the journalists, the designers etc., they all had something to say but what recurred during all of my interactions with them was their motivation to inspire young girls to not let society tell them how they should dress and behave, they want to get more Muslim women to face up to the challenge and change the perception that Muslim women, especially those wearing the hijab, are weak and submissive.

The next two days that followed mixed talks from famous Muslim influencers and the catwalks of designers who came from all over the world to embrace modest fashion.

In terms of clothing I didn’t know what to expect, shall I go for a long abaya or comfy trousers and heels or shall I go for a more vintage look? I had all these ideas but I didn’t feel the pressure to conform for sure, modest fashion is all about expressing yourself and it’s fun because you get to be your own designer.

During those two days you would see a different look, some of the girls were dressed in long and detailed kimonos that trailed the floor, some opted for a more casual look with baggy trousers and trainers, and others decided to go for funkier looks and bright flamboyant colours.

The catwalks were very popular and sometimes you needed to come at least twenty minutes before to secure a seat. The collections showcased by the designers were very diverse, some showed sporty attires and others more conservative clothing with long hijabs going down to the knees and some were quirkier and more colourful. The catwalks were around half an hour long and they were followed by talks by the influencers.

Not as many people attended the talks as much as those who came to the show room. Some talks were more popular than others, especially the one entitled: “Social Media and Fashion DO’S and DON’Ts” which saw on the panel Melanie from Haute Hijab, Nabilabee a UK designer and Sohamt a designer from UAE, known for her colourful abayas.

The exhibition area was busy at all times however I wish the breaks in between the talks and the shows were longer because that would have given me the opportunity to spend some more time around the designer’s stalls.

Fatumina Said at London Modest Fashion Week 2017. Photo by @rooful

Would I recommend this event? Yes, definitely. It was a great opportunity to meet my favorite modest fashion influencers on a personal level and get tips from them.

It was well organized, some of the shows ran a bit late but they were mostly on schedule.

The one advice I would give to someone who would like to attend the event next year is to dress comfortably, maybe it is best you have food in advance, because you may not have time if you plan to attend everything. And most importantly just relax and have fun!

Fatumina is an upcoming singer/songwriter from the UK and is also an award-winning PhD student developing methods to use stem cell therapy for cardiac disease. She also writes for Pi Magazine and has contributed to numerous media broadcasts on national TV. You can follow her on Instagram.