Modest fashion is the talk of London this week. The haute couture end of the abaya and burkini business dazzled Muslims and non-Muslims alike during the first-ever London Modest Fashion Week. Are there investible ideas to be found in the buzz? The target market certainly exists. The world’s Muslim population may reach 2.2 billion by 2030, skewing toward the under-30 age cohort. But defining a successful business around broad demographic trends is difficult in the highly fractionalized Islamic world. In this case, attractive return-on-investment potential requires a scalable brand or proven e-commerce site. And while modest fashion has growing momentum in Muslim-dominated economies, venture capitalists will argue that fashion, modest or otherwise, is a free-for-all business with only limited pricing power. Catwalk glamor obfuscates commercial reality. ■
Our Vantage Point: Modest fashion is trending in Western markets. While appearing innovative and responsive on the surface, the business is riddled with the same pitfalls seen in the conventional garment trade.
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Image: Modest fashion is making a stir in traditional glamor circles. Credit: Orelphoto at Can Stock Photo Inc.
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