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International Fashion Brands Break Into the Indonesian Modest Muslim Wear Market

In recent years, there has been a noticeable trend of major international fashion brands introducing modest clothing lines to cater to consumers who prefer to dress modestly for religious, cultural, or personal stylistic reasons. This shift reflects a growing recognition of the diverse needs and preferences within the global fashion market. 

Modest fashion, characterized by clothing that provides more coverage and aligns with the principles of various cultures and religions, has seen significant uptake across different regions. Notably, in Indonesia, a country with the world's largest Muslim population, the modest fashion market has experienced remarkable growth. According to the State of the Global Islamic Economy (SGIE) Report 2020/21, this market was valued at approximately US$ 18 billion between 2020 and 2021. 

The rise of modest fashion is also part of a broader movement towards inclusivity and diversity in the fashion industry. By embracing modest clothing options, fashion brands are acknowledging and celebrating the rich tapestry of cultural and religious identities that exist within their global customer base. This trend is likely to continue growing, as more brands recognize the importance of catering to a diverse range of fashion preferences and the significant market potential that modest fashion represents.

(Source: UNIQLO)

UNIQLO for example, the Japanese fast-fashion manufacturer and retailer, last year launched their modest wear collection themed “Modesty In Everyday Life” for the Indonesian market. UNIQLO’s modest wear collection includes maxi dresses, wide-leg pants, long tunics, layering pieces, and hijabs. The collection features their signature AIRism technology and was designed by British-Japanese Muslim designer Hana Tajima.

Western brands like Nike, Adidas, and H&M have also recognized the growing demand for modest sportswear. Nike in particular recently released their groundbreaking Nike Pro Hijab and Nike Swim “Victory” collection that was developed in collaboration with Muslim athletes, among them are weightlifter Amna Al Haddad and figure skater Zahra Lari, both from the United Arab Emirates. This product ensures that women can comfortably participate in sports without compromising their religious beliefs.

(Source: Nike)

H&M even took it a step further, releasing a whole modest lineup exclusively for the Indonesian market dubbed “LTD Collection”. The collection features kaftan-style dresses, kimono dresses, long statement skirts, and ruffled blouses or tunic tops with coordinating trousers. H&M’s introduction of the LTD Collection signifies a strategic move to tap into the growing modest fashion market in Indonesia, aligning with broader industry trends towards inclusivity and cultural sensitivity.

Several major luxury brands have also made their strides into the modest fashion industry. Louis Vuitton and Dolce & Gabbana have recently released hijab, head coverings, and headscarves to cater the demand for more modest clothing. Other high-end fashion brands and retailers that offer modest clothing pieces include Mango, DKNY, Nordstrom, Net-a-Porter, LuisaViaRoma, and Farfetch.

By 2027, the projected expenditure by Muslims on clothing and footwear globally is expected to reach US$ 428 billion, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.1%. This surge is driven by a combination of factors, including increasing consumer demand for fashion that respects religious and cultural values, a rise in the spending power of Muslim consumers, and the influence of social media and fashion influencers who promote modest styles.

(Source: SGIE Report 2023/24)

Indonesia in particular shows a massive potential in the market. In 2022 alone, the country imported US$ 1.62 billion worth of fashion products, surpassing its export value of approximately US$ 0.54 billion. This strong import value highlights the strong demand for the modest Muslim fashion market in Indonesia, catering to its dominant Muslim population. Indonesian consumers are actively seeking more options for modest clothing, particularly in the higher-end market. This situation presents a massive opportunity for international fashion labels to tap into this growing market.

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