The modest movement rides on the wave of fashion’s era of inclusivity and blossoms in today’s age of social media. Where modest dressers were once perceived to be dowdy and cloaked only in black garb, they are now leading the multibillion-dollar industry with their penchant for high necklines, long sleeves and flowy silhouette.
The pervasiveness and popularity of social media platforms in the last decade certainly helps. Particularly, in 2010.
From Lady Gaga’s iconic “meat dress” at the Video Music Awards to Andres Iniesta scoring Spain’s victory during the World Cup in Africa, 2010 was a year that had us feelin' so fly like a G6. Closer to home, 2010 saw Singapore host the inaugural Youth Olympic Games, the opening of the Circle Line as well as Resorts World Sentosa. 2010 also brought us Hollywood’s zombie obsession vis-a-vis The Walking Dead, the first ever iPad, and the birth of Instagram.
From our cosmopolitan island, notable fashion-lifestyle bloggers-turn-Instagrammers are Dalilah Ismail, Tiq Zulkifli and Lulu Alhadad. Through their blogs, they shared personal styles and beauty tips amongst other blurbs. They were posting OOTDs before #ootd were even a thing! As social media thrives in communities, it is unsurprising young women seek out those whose beliefs align with their own. A key feature of social media is engagement, where ideas are exchanged and discussed upon.
This results in an ecosystem of influence culture and consumer community where fashion and faith co-exist and blossom.
In hijab styles of the 2010s Singapore, here are some observable trends. Shawls were preferred over the triangle and square scarves of the 90s and early 2000s. The long garment allows for the airy drape effect, adored by those who likes the flowy silhouette. Particularly in sunny and humid Singapore, scarves of lightweight material like crepe and chiffon were the choice of many. Later comes the snood or hoodie style hijab where one can attain the drape look without the fuss. Building on that convenience factor, the instant hijab (an easy slip-on option) started making its rounds.
Influencer Culture and Responsibilities
Shifts in digital climate led to the migration of bloggers to Instagram. They brought over their avid readers while growing their followers. Fashion and social media are both used for self-expression and representation. It is a winning combination to merge the two in yielding a phenomenon of fashion influencers.
These fashion-forward Muslim women were also known as hijabsters – to describe their affinity to trends and being hijab-clad.
Social media creates new forms and understanding of modest fashion which are then widely circulated and popularised. Fashion suddenly became accessible. Young girls can easily find modest fashion inspirations at the tip of their fingers. From hijab tutorials on YouTube to style lookbooks sprawled on Instagram, the guide to dressing well while adhering to their faith is open and free for all.
Influencers thus hold a degree of responsibility to their audience with the following they have amassed. The guides and tips they put out has the potential to shape the views of the youth, and the perception of their faith as well. Criticisms against influencers often comes in fast and furious, moreover so when mistakes were made. It is often forgotten that they are as flawed as the next person, and could use gentle reminders filled with love and hope instead of cutting words.
Modest fashion has an intriguing appeal of sharing one’s culture through style. Let gentleness be part of this culture too.