Much like the rest of the world, Russia is experiencing the rapid rise of the modest fashion trend. This is obviously due to the changes that the global Muslim community is currently going through, as well as the challenges it is facing now. Globalization and the Internet are equally important contributing factors here as well. The everyday life of many Muslims and the environment they exist in have changed dramatically, transforming their consumption habits and their outlook. As the borders are disappearing, a Muslim woman has to find a way to integrate into society, take part into the social life and adapt to the new environment, while following the precepts of Allah. Naturally, this leads to the transformation of Muslim fashion. Moreover, various local fashion particularities are vanishing, and the Muslims, just like everyone else, are feeling the push of the unified, global mass market. Nowadays, Muslim women are recreating themselves, and those of them who lead active lives need new clothes that would both express their individuality and correspond with the values they believe in. They want to see variety in their outfits, find new combinations, and wear modern, relevant, and interesting colors and patterns. There is also the newly converted women who wear modest clothes by choice, rather than out of an ancestral tradition. Finally, modest clothing attracts more and more fans from other faiths, as well as secular people.
Previously, this fashion industry sector was largely seen as a fringe niche market. Russian clothing manufacturers could not offer a decent selection of quality clothes that would meet the needs of Russian Muslim women, and would be appropriate for their way of life and the climate. Even ten years ago, there was virtually no adequate clothing in Russia - most of it was imported by small enterprises, and these were in general low quality apparel of questionable style. Thus, most people had to either order hand tailored outfits, or spend a lot of time in common retail stores, assembling a full set corresponding to their needs. Today, however, there are numerous brands and private entrepreneurs offering a wide selection of modest clothing in various price segments.
One of the pioneers in designing cloth for Muslim women was a talented designer Jamila Rusudan Kobyakov, who began to create collections for Muslim women in 2002, a graduater of the famous Russian couturier V.Zaytcev school, winner of numerous competitions and participant of the Moscow Mersedes Fashion Week. For Jamila, as a professional in the fashion industery, the concept of modest fashion is the one of fields in which you can develop following not only the trends, but also the religious requirements and personal notions of beauty and femininity.
The leading Muslim fashion house in Russia's Caucasus region is Firdaws, currently run by the daughter of Chechen president Ramzan Kadyrov, and previously by his wife. The company is most famous for its luxurious evening and bridal dresses which in many respects reflect the traditions of modesty and dignity inherent to the peoples of the Caucasus. One of the house's models has recently been chosen to participate in a photo shoot showcasing scarves by Dolce Gabbana.
Another iconic figure who has brought to the modern Russian Muslim fashion industry a new vision of a Muslim woman image – intelligent, elegant, sophisticated – helping to overcome the stereotypes concerning the Muslim women is Dilyara Sadrieva. Having taken part in numerous international events dedicated to modest fashion, she is one of the first international fashion designers invited to cooperate with Modanisa, and has become the head of IFDC Russia, intending to make a significant contribution into the development of modest fashion industry.
One of the fastest developing and famous brands most sought after by the young Muslims is Rezeda Suleyman. Launched in 2011, it immideately gained immense popularity among the younger generation of Muslim women, later expanding its target audience to include secular people. “After all, we are not telling anyone how to look – we are just trying to produce stylish covering clothes that everyone can find appealing.”
Also emerging are brands that manage to use ancient ethnical ornaments and techniques in their clothing with great finesse, combining them with modern styles, technologies and designs. One of the groundbreakers in this field is Tatarcha Casual which launched the ethnical patterns trend, successfully popularizing and reviving interest in the rich culture of Tatarstan and the traditions of its people, and producing quality clothing, shoes and accessories adorned with ethnical ornaments. According to the brand's creators, modesty is when one pays no heed to their ego, turning their attention to something bigger and more important. “Clothes are the continuation of one's personality, and it would be great if everyone remembered what we are representing by our garments. We represent our history, the link between generations. We are representing tolerance.”
A fascinating recent discovery was ARAIDA, which presented an amazing collection during the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in Moscow. This is a brand that is able to harmoniously combine the luxury of the East and the European traditions, using beautiful fabrics made of natural fibers. While it is not promoted as a specifically Muslim clothing brand, ARAIDA certainly does adhere to the traditions of modesty and impeccable elegance.
The Russian Modest Fashion market is heterogeneous. Different Climate, and the existing cultural and historical background, taste and color preferences in different regions of the country plays a role in it. Cusomers from Tatarstan and other republics of the Volga region prefer floral prints, Paisley pattern, jacquard and atlas fabric. Cusomers from the Caucasus like luxurious fabrics, much rhinestones and decorations, bright colors. In colder regions we can find a different picture: muted tones, neutral colors, the clothes are choosing more of practical features, but also appreciated the cut and design.
The Russian Muslim fashion market welcomes more and more new names, designers and fashion bloggers, all of whom help to make it more diverse. The industry is growing at a very fast pace.
Photo: Haute Hijab