Daniela Karnuts, a fashion designer with Safiyaa in the U. K. observes “A woman is never attractive if she is not comfortable in her skin.” (The Modest Moment,” by Paula Knight, Bloomberg Businessweek, Dec. 17, 2018, pg. 69.) Karnuts is not talking about real skin, of course, but clothes that a woman feels comfortable wearing. My favorite outfit is sweatpants, but I’m sure she would cringe, thinking I was taking fashion to the dogs.
I could argue fashion is as fluid as standards of beauty, of course. Take Victoria’s Secrets. It’s line used to be wildly popular. But, lately, sales have dropped. Modest fashion, on the other hand, is raking in cash. Modest fashion is clothing that covers as much of the body as a woman desires, a standard being driven by the buying power of Muslim women. Who knew, for example, that the Muslim faith was the second-largest religion in Italy? It’s presence, as a result, has had an impact on one of the world’s great fashion centers. (Ibid, pg. 69) Add to their numbers, Catholic and Jewish women who demand modest attire and the potential for profit becomes less than modest. The British royals, Kate Middleton and Megan Markle, who often wear demure styles, have also drawn followers, giving modest fashion an estimated $254 billion a year in sales. (Ibid pg. 69.)
While some companies, like The Modist, have catered to consumers of this dress for a while, now that it has become big business, designer houses are taking note: Oscar de la Renta, Burberry and Dulce & Gabbana… Even Macy’s has developed a line, the Verona Collection. In the meantime, e-commerce giant Net-a-Porter has “added a ‘Modest’ button site navigator – nestled between ‘loungewear’ and ‘pants’.” (Ibid pg. 69.)
Hollywood’s flash and bling will probably remain blind to the trend. Cher, I suspect, will see it as an erosion of a woman’s right to bare all, or almost all. She has a point. We came into this world heedless of the need for fashion. Yet women without Cher’s goddess-like measurements, sometimes like to wear something other than sweat pants. Include me among them. Who knows, the day may arrive when I’ll feel inclined to hit the “Modest” button… especially if there’s a sale.