The Saverah Expo organizers claim it is designed to empower Muslim women.
After Sanzaa’s catwalk showed, there was a crowd of women flitting through the rails of clothing and flaunting their credit cards at the exhibition stall of the fashion label.
Sanya and Zahra are a couple of friends who have built their “modest fashion business” from a Bradford market stall over the past six year. They were busy wrapping long tunics in black tissue paper and advising customers about purchases.
Among them was Amara Sadeeq, a London law graduate and full-time mother to three small children, who had chosen a dusty pink abaya. She said, “I normally wear black, but it was time to try something different.” “Some of my family members wear black and don’t approve makeup. However, I believe women should look beautiful and feel confident.
Sadeeq, along with approximately 5,000 other people, had attended the Saverah Women Expo at the Intercontinental Hotel next to London’s O2 Arena. This event showcased Muslim businesses that aimed women. It featured modest fashion, halal cosmetics and jewellery as well as greetings cards and chocolates to Ramadan. Motivational talks and charity presentations were also offered by solicitors, banks, and Muslim charities.
The expo also focused on “empowering Muslim women.” Shazia Ramzan, Saverah’s spokeswoman, said that women have a voice, they live a life, and they start businesses.
The event featured nearly 90 exhibitors, including many international and UK fashion designers. Ramzan stated that Modest Fashion has been a recurring trend elsewhere, particularly in the Gulf. “Now it’s more prominent here,” he said.
According to the most recent Global Islamic Economy report, the global Muslim clothing market will be worth $327 billion by 2020. International retailers such as Marks and Spencer and Uniqlo have launched ranges aimed at Muslim women.
Farheen Rahman, a Kolkata-based designer who studied at the London College of Fashion had returned to the UK to display her modest clothing range for the first time.
“This is my first show.” She said that Islamic clothing has been something she’s been thinking about for the past year. “I see young girls wanting to be stylish but still be modest. They had to choose between the two until recently.”
Rahman said that another factor contributing to the rise in modest fashion was the rising disposable incomes of young Muslims. This is evident in India where once spending power was reserved for the elite, but the middle class has grown up.
Ranna Ahmed and Rasha Ahmed, twins, launched Hijab Star’s label less than a year ago. They also noted a shift in generation. Ranna said that young Muslim women are more interested in fashion today than their mothers.
Nadia Amdanee, who was watching the show, said that she is French and likes to be trendy, but also knows the limitations my religion places on her. It’s now possible to be unique and fashionable while remaining true to your faith.
The expo wasn’t all about modesty. Zahra Peperon, who runs a personal trainer service called .the Healthy Hijab was collecting signatures to support a campaign, Faces of Muslimah to celebrate diversity among Muslim females.
She said that her religion was in my heart and not in how I look. “If you looked at me, you wouldn’t know that I’m a Muslim. But I pray five days a week, and I’ll fast during Ramadan. My appearance doesn’t make a difference in how I act.”