Fashion has always been a melting pot of culture and trends, catering to all shapes and sizes, genders and beliefs. As we progress into the future, it is even more important to acknowledge inclusivity and this includes fashion for Muslim women all over the world where representation and inclusivity goes hand in hand.
Muslimah Fashion Turns Mainstream
Source: London Modest Fashion Week
In 2017, Somali model, Halima Aden made headlines after being the first ever hijab model to strut down the Yeezy season 5 fashion show. The model was praised for her strong sense of beliefs, especially in an industry that bears a strong contrast to Muslim culture. Similarly, London was also home to the first ever London Modest Fashion Week, showcasing the best designs and looks when it comes to modest wear, further proving the importance of representation.
An Opening For a Vast Market
With a huge demographic also comes an equally large market. Based on a State of the Global Islamic Economy report from 2015 – 2016, the total expenditure spent on clothes by Muslim consumers amounted to a whooping $230 billion, with an estimated increase to $327 billion by next year.
The above statement does not necessarily tally with the overall expenditure towards Muslimah wear but a correlation is possible. As quoted in the report by analyst, Rafi-Uddin Shikoh,“Overall clothing purchase by Muslim consumers does not directly translate into Islamic fashion, but there are a number of drivers that suggest the modest fashion industry will be growing towards those numbers.”
For many years, Muslim women have been frustrated at the lack of fashionable modest clothes in the market, always having to choose between modesty or trend. Suada Mohamoud, a PR and event specialist for the modest fashion world told Vogue, “When people say ‘modest,’ they picture somebody wearing a big black scarf or abaya, and that’s just not what it is any more.” Fashion labels are slowly realising the fault in this stigma and are starting to tap into the market and filling the gaps.
Is There a Demand For It In Malaysia?
This market is especially lucrative on a local scale. A report has shown that 5 out of the top 10 local online fashion sites comprised of brands that either partially or fully supplies Muslimah wear. This proves a robust market for modest clothing in Malaysia and retailers should be able to determine the demand of trends and expand their collection.
Let’s back this up with data from the Omnilytics dashboard. Based off data (August 1st 2017 to March 31st 2018) from one of the top online retailers in Malaysia, Zalora, we will firstly dive into the top categories when it comes to Muslimah dresses and tops, then decipher the prefered trends from these categories.
Muslimah tops on Zalora consisted of 2,810 SKUs and an average sellout rate of 57.5%. The popular subcategories for Muslimah tops were flare tops (193 SKUs) and peplum tops (180 SKUs).
The Muslimah fashion market has quite the flair for sleeves, especially when they are flared (also known as bell sleeves). This retro 70s trend is back better than ever, adding pizzazz to a plain top. The table above shows a sellout rate of 66.3% for flare tops, which was more than the average sellout rate for all the Muslimah tops on Zalora, with only an average discount range of 25-29%.
Source (From left to right): Rekareka, Zalia, Byn
Here are some of the bestselling flare tops from various brands under Zalora. These trends are making waves in the Muslimah fashion world, and all of which have been out-of-stock and replenished at least four times within the time frame.
Peplum tops are also another favourite subcategory of Muslimah tops as it’s a great way to add structure to an otherwise plain top. This trend is a great way to add some structure into an otherwise plain top. The peplum top subcategory saw a sellout rate of 52.8% with an average replenishment rate of 42.2%, which is higher than the flare tops subcategory. This could indicate a growth potential due to the higher replenishment rate.
Source (from left to right): Byn, Zalia, Zolace
The above are just some examples of best-selling peplum tops , and it’s significant that blue seemed to be a popular colour of the season.
Muslimah dresses in Zalora consisted of 4,420 SKUs and an average sellout rate of 57.1%. The popular subcategories for Muslimah dresses were baju kurungs (2,769 SKUs) and lace dresses (471 SKUs).
Source (from left to right): Mermaid Luxe, Jovian Mandagie for Zalora, Lubna
Interestingly, despite the fast-changing world of fashion, traditional attires like baju kurung and baju kebayas are still as relevant as ever. The Baju Kurung subcategory comprised of 2,769 SKUs, which made up 63% of total Muslimah dresses (4,420 SKUs) in Zalora. The sellout rate was also above average at 55.6%, The three examples of best-selling baju kurungs above suggested that a cropped blouse paired with a mermaid silhouette skirt was the favoured style, contrary to a traditional baju kurung.
Lace has always been synonymous to all things delicate and feminine so it’s should be no surprise that when lace dresses reigned as one of the favourites in the muslimah dresses category, with 11% of stock in Zalora. It comprised 11% of the muslimah dress subcategory from Zalora, making it the highest rated subcategories in terms of dresses that are not of traditional Malaysian heritage (baju kurung, baju kebaya, jubah etc).
This could be due to the higher demand for a more modern and feminine take on dresses rather than the usual traditional attire that Malaysian Muslim women are so used to and what better way to incorporate that than with lace. The sellout rate of lace dresses was 49.6% and the replenish rate was 40.6%, both of which were approximately close to each other, suggesting a stable supply for the demand.
Source : Zalia
Out of all the brands selling lace dresses for Muslimah women in Zalora, Zalia’s collection sold best (as shown above), all of which portrayed similarities when it comes to the colour and silhouette.
Pop culture, the runway and also social media can possibly influence the direction of Muslimah wear, which also sets the path for success in the market. . Malaysia is slowly acknowledging this with two Muslimah fashion brand founders were included in the Forbes 30 under 30 list for Asia in 2017, indicating this industry as a force to be reckoned with.
Overall, options for the Muslimah fashion market barely scratches the surface when it comes to exploring all aspects and possibilities. Brands and retailers should strive to meet consumer demands and stock up on the exact styles that are selling best, only then will we see this propitious market grow by leaps and bounds .
Want to understand your consumers and tap into the fast fashion industry for your Muslimah wear collection? Drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll be in touch!
The data above was obtained from Omnilytics, real-time retail data platform. The numbers and statistics may vary, as the platform is updated every day. The time period of the information taken was between 1st August, 2017 to 31st March, 2018.