Spring colors, breezy fabrics seen in Turkey’s Modest Fashion Week

Modest fashion represents a growing market in the world and Turkey with its Muslim traditions and booming textile industry

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Spring colors, breezy fabrics, high necklines and long hemlines: The International Modest Fashion Week opened Friday in Istanbul as Turkey sought to be seen as a creative hot spot for conservative wear around the world.

Seventy designers were taking part in the two-day event hosted by Modanisa, an online retailer of Muslim fashion, at a historic railway station flooded with spotlights for the occasion.

“(We want) to create mainstream fashion out of modest fashion and to energize Islamic communities to produce (clothing) for Muslim women,” Modanisa CEO Kerim Ture said. “They want to have their rules but they also want to look chic.”

Modest fashion represents a growing market in the world and Turkey, with its Muslim traditions and booming textile industry, is uniquely placed to cash in both creatively and commercially. Worldwide spending on Muslim clothing is projected to grow to $327 billion by 2020, according to the latest Global Islamic Economy report.

Designers say it’s a budding industry in which Turkey serves as a natural bridge between European and Asian markets.

“In fashion, we have the mainstream fashion line and the modest fashion line,” says Malaysian designer Hazizul Abd Aziz of Aidijuma who favors cool satins and cottons. “The modest fashion line is actually very new.”

The models paraded styles ranging from earthy tunics and floral dresses to grandiose gowns in shimmering pear palettes and dark abayas — all connected by shape-concealing cuts.

The looks were set off by dashing turbans, decorative headscarves and prim chignons for the unveiled.