Mar 24, 2017 | By Carlene Thomas Bailey
Forget what you think you know about modest fashion. London-based clothing company RŪH Collective, is rebranding modest wear with sought-after pieces that don’t cling to the body.
Earlier this month we stumbled across this brand on Instagram, impressed firstly by the high-end styling (as evidenced by its lookbooks) which could have it sitting next to any elevated basics brand, like Cos, & Other Stories and Finery, holding its own among competitors. A little digging and we discovered the brand was set up last year by fashion entrepreneur Soni Ruh, and the goal is to create chic clothing for women who prefer a more modest look, but don’t want to compromise on style. As it says on their website RŪH Collective makes “killer clothes for women who believe modesty is empowering” but also that “covering up isn’t about quieting down”.
When modest fashion is generally discussed, our minds tend to drift to traditionally loose clothing with no shape, and no design details, however, these pieces are the exact opposite. The clothing line is composed of long silk dresses, chic trousers and elegant kimonos. The current looks are simple but elegant, and come in a range of bold colourways. As an added bonus, the brand offers a Home Try-On Option where you can try on the clothes and return them within 3 days, with you only being charged for what you want (think of it as the modest wear equivalent to ASOS). Plus like US retailer Everlane, it offers up pricing transparency with its items.
The RŪH Collective brand values also extend to sustainability. RŪH was established on three pillars: design, ethics and value. The brand has a steadfast desire to lessen the global footprint and consumption within the fashion industry.
This emerging brand is part of the larger modest wear market, which is currently growing. While there are no official figures on modest wear, we are seeing mainstream retailers rush to tap this market. The UK’s Stylist magazine wrote an article called The new modesty: a new age of fashion is dawning, talking about the rise in fashion-forward options for modest wear. The pragmatic, egalitarian appeal of Modest wear is a boon to consumers of Jewish and Muslim faiths, who are drawn to a fashionable, utilitarian mode of dressing, and retailers are keen to tap into the consumer spend here.
According to Flanders Investment & Trade report in 2014 “global Muslim consumer spending on clothing and footwear has increased 11.9% to reach $266 billion in 2013. This makes the Muslim clothing market to be 11.9% of the global expenditure and is expected to reach $488 billion by 2019.” Also the introduction of the Modest Fashion Indicator (MFI) in 2014 now evaluates the global modest fashion industry across retail markets, ranking different countries. We’re seeing high street retailers like H&M and Uniqlo styling their photoshoots with a model wearing her Hijab, and luxury brands such as Dolce and Gabbana are embracing modest wear and working to appeal to Muslim customers in the Middle East.
There’s also the rise of style icons in the modest fashion field, such as Melbourne-based fashion blogger Zulfiye Tufa aka The Hijab Stylist, who is a key influencer with over 47.7k followers on Instagram. She recently launched ModMarkit.com an online marketplace and app (a bit like Depop and eBay) where consumers can buy and trade pre-loved clothes for “modest fashion lovers”. Street style site Modest Street Fashion, is another stylish online hub for fashion inspiration, complete with a corresponding fashion book. Plus there’s the growing millennial subculture of ‘Mipsterz’ or Muslim Hipsters, digitally connected consumers who are sharing everything from styling tips to the new modest brands via Instagram, all of which is helping the modest wear industry grow and gain traction.
In this digitally connected world, it will be interesting to watch new modest fashion brands like RŪH Collective, which are digitally native, focused on e-commerce, brand values, and building a committed global community of consumers.
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