The Early Stages of our US Modest Fashion Industry.
By Stephanie Khalil AlGhani B.S.S. in Production Management of the Apparel Industry
“Necessity is the mother of invention” is a famous quote by Greek philosopher Plato. Donald Fisher founded Gap in 1969 when he built his first store in San Francisco. Mr. Fisher’s reason for starting the company was that he simply could not find a pair of jeans that fit him. 46 years later Gap Incorporated operates six of the most recognizable apparel brands in the world: Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy, Piperlime, Athleta and Intermix. It looks like History will be repeating itself like it usually does in Fashion. The main reason for US Muslim Women designers starting their clothing companies is due to lack of availability to modest covering clothes. A couple brands that first come to mind which cater to the American Muslim Women consumer are East Essence, Zeena, Haute Hijab, and I am leaving out some other good ones, please forgive me! East Essence was founded in 2007 in the Silicon Valley of California, USA. Zeena launched their first line in 2011, and Haute Hijab started by first selling vintage scarves as hijabs in 2010. Compared to your typical US fashion brands, these labels would be considered relatively new, but yet on the verge of something huge. Forbes’ just released their 29th annual “The World’s Billionaires List,” and the fashion & retail industry makes up for a majority of top ranking people. Considering that Islam is the fastest growing religion according to Guinness World Records, the Modest Fashion industry will grow much bigger insha’Allah. It is only a matter of time, especially with the coverage of social media hijab fashion bloggers, when sales will grow for modest fashion companies. Once sales grow, and the designer can put in bigger production orders, they will be able to be more competitive with pricing, thus more competitive in general. Considering a company like H&M has 3,500 stores, and just estimating a single style will have at least 10 pcs in a single store (and I am underestimating). That gives a production estimate for a single style somewhere in the 5 digits, which allows for them to keep their prices so low. When a smaller company does production, they might do 100–300 pcs per style, which is more expensive factory costs, thus harder to compete with low prices of the bigger retail chains. That hasn’t kept people from buying, considering the modest fashion chains are more suitable to their needs, and the modest fashion consumer appreciates the convenience. This won’t be the last time you hear about Modest Fashion, it will be splashing headlines more and more.