PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Modesty — and fashion — they don’t always go hand in hand, but some local Muslim designers are hoping to change that. It seems to be catching on.
The fabrics are colorful, flowy, and…feminine.
“It covers everything that i supposed to be covered, but it’s still flattering,” says Niama Muhammad, owner of The House of Coqueta. A self-taught designer, Muhammad specializes in modest fashions that use Ghanaian prints, cinched waists, accentuated shoulders and bold colors to make a statement.
“A lot of people have the preconceived notion that being modest is boring,” she says, “but it can be fun.”
The boldness of the clothing is attracting more and more women who are choosing to cover up.
“About 60 percent of my customers are non-Muslim,” says Atiyah Haven, owner of Amatullah’s Treasures on Landsdowne Avenue. “What appeals to them is the uniqueness of the items.”
Haven opened her boutique five years ago. She sells one-of-a-kind clothing, shoes, and accessories, including some intimate items all for the modern, but modest woman.
So what makes modest fashion modest? The answer depends on the woman.
“For Muslim women, the only thing that can be shown is your face, hands and feet,” says Haven.
But for other women, a little leg and arm is just fine. But the loose, flowy fabric is a go-to choice to hide imperfections.
“That’s the great thing about being modest,” says Haven, “you may look at yourself without clothing, then put on some of these beautiful fabrics and don’t hug everything. And guess what? You don’t see that bulge.”
“There’s simply ladies who don’t want to do the sports bra and yoga pants but still want to be active,” says Latifa Ali, founder of LiaWear Action. Ali designs and makes custom swim suits, active wear dresses and work out gear for women who prefer to show less.
“My clothes are really a tool for empowerment,” says Ali, “some women get stuck in abusive relationships, in jobs, in situations and need a bit of inspirations, and that’s what these clothes are designed to do.”
The designers even gave me tips on how to transform a faux wrap, print maxi-dress with plunging neckline into modest fashion. All I had to do was cover…up…eh hm…my ass-sets.
(Gregg): “Cute and covered!” (after using a shawl to cover the neckline).
On Saturday, a half-dozen modest designers will put their fashions on the catwalk at the 19th Annual Sister Recognition Show. Part of the proceeds from LiaWear sales will go to nonprofits that help woman.
“I feel pretty…I feel happy,” says one customer, “Yayyyyy!
The show will demonstrate how much confidence is revealed…by showing less.