On Saturday 21st October 2017 London hosted the first “Modest Fashion Festival” and we were gifted complimentary tickets and posted live videos throughout the night on our Instagram.
The Modest Fashion Festival, is planning to host “multiple events on an international scale across Europe, the Middle East and Asia over the next 18 months” beginning with the event in London and following with events in Dubai and Doha at a later date. The Festival by no means attempts to present itself as accessible to the general public, with tickets ranging from over £100 at the low-end to £475 at the high-end, sponsorship from Bentley and a five-course meal, the luxury event was clearly aimed at Muslimah’s with money. In other words; not us.
The first Somali American Supermodel, Halima Aden was meant to be there, and her presence along with the promise of free meals, especially five of them, was too good to give up, producer Charlotte and I ‘Saf’ dressed up and headed down to Mayfair to share the luxury with you guys.
We were anxious about how the event was going to go and trying to decide what we’d wear. The dress-code was black-tie and ball gowns, but after hours of stressing we ended up appearing in jeans, trainers and nice shirts, but felt massively underdressed compared to many of the women there with elaborate crystal-encrusted ball gowns and hair that must have taken them hours.
When we arrived at the venue in Mayfair, I bumped into Mariah Idrissi the ‘British Moroccan/Pakistani model & public speaker’ and tried hard not to fan girl. I introduced myself and was lead down the stairs along with Mariah for pictures and registration.
The room was a large open space with a catwalk in the middle and large tables for the guests. The cheaper your ticket the further away from the action you were, and as we had silver tickets (ie. bronze) we were seated at the furthest table. When the catwalk started we weren’t able to see anything from the positions we were in, but Charlotte stayed at the table and I went up for a bit of a closer look and got to enjoy the incredible designs closeup.
Designers all over the world came to showcase their work; our favourites were ‘Amal Al Raissi’, ‘Meryem Boussikouk’ and ‘Vivi Zubedi’. They offered culture, colour and a contemporary modern style to their designs, and if their dresses were more affordable I would have considered buying one.
A few hours passed with two catwalk shows and a meal being served approximately every hour or so. The food was described as “haute cuisine, an intercultural feast for the eyes and palate” and it was definitely a far cry from the kind of food we’re used to. Sweet honey yoghurt with potatoes, chickpeas, pomegranates and tamarind sauce was the first thing we were served, which was probably one of the most interesting starters I’ve been served before.
We were part way through eating when Halima Aden walked past. Despite her manager trying to pull her away, Halima very kindly came back to take a photograph with me and then was dragged away for interviews. She definitely hasn’t been spoilt by the fame as she was overwhelmingly friendly and patient with the hoards of attendees wanting to photograph her.
The whole event lasted about four hours excluding the exclusive after party for the VIP’s only, which we didn’t have access to. So after food, catwalks, speeches, pictures and meeting /greeting the famous bloggers and social media people we decided it was time to go back into London and call it a day.
Going home we reflected on the increasing trend of high-street stores accommodating the Muslim market by offering more modest fashion. High street shops are starting to sell clothes that are of length, stylish and can be worn by young Muslim girls in the west which allows it to become both more accepted and appropriated all around the world; coming with both pros and cons. Markets making clothes that are for this new emerging market means increase in sales and money for high street shops but are these shops only making this change to in a way capitalise off the ‘Muslim Pound’? Or do they really care about being inclusive of all cultures in fashion?
As we all work together to try and make the world a more inclusive place, we hope more initiatives like the Modest Fashion Festival continue to showcase that Muslims make a huge part of not only the market but the workforce behind designing clothing as well.
What do you think about the increase in catering to a Muslim market and of our experience at the Modest Fashion Festival? Let us know below!
Check out the photos we took!