The concept of modest fashion emerged in the early 2000s, describing the style preferences of individuals who choose to cover themselves for religious, cultural, or personal reasons. In the past, those seeking modest clothing options often had limited choices, primarily because the market was relatively small. However, recent years have witnessed a surge in spending on modest fashion. According to the 2022 State of the Global Islamic Economy Report, spending in this niche increased by 5.7% in 2021, from $279 billion to $295 billion. This growth is fueled by consumers who seek clothing that aligns with their values, providing adequate coverage without compromising style. The Global Islamic Economy Report predicts the industry will reach an estimated $311 billion by 2024.

Appeal Beyond Niche Markets

Modest fashion is no longer confined to niche markets. Renowned brands like Louis Vuitton and Max Mara have introduced curated modest collections during Ramadan and Eid, catering to a culturally and religiously diverse consumer audience.

However, it's important to note that the style is not limited to the religiously inclined; it can also be influenced by cultural upbringing and personal choice. With the growth of modest fashion, those favoring modest attire have a variety of specialized brands and designers to choose from.

Modest Fashion's Global Influence

The largest markets for modest fashion include Iran, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia. Recognizing the opportunities in the Middle East, fashion brands like Zara and Pull and Bear have expanded their presence and product offerings. These brands may not always create new modest fashion products but prioritize marketing and styling to suit such consumer preferences.

In the Western market, brands like Asos and Shein have made a range of modest wear available to consumers. These collections offer longer cuts, higher necklines, and opaque fabrics, fitting into the category without the need for extra styling or layering.

Modest Activewear: A New Trend

As activewear gains popularity, brands are now offering products designed to cater to modest consumers. In the past, activewear was dominated by crop tops, skin-tight leggings, and shorts for ease of movement. However, brands are now investing in designs that provide more coverage.

For instance, Nike introduced its first hijab in 2017, sparking a conversation about inclusivity in activewear. In 2020, Nike expanded its line to include modest swimwear, featuring core pieces like swim hijabs and swim leggings. Adidas has also collaborated with South African designer Thebe Magugu to create a line that includes modest swimwear, running gear, and loungewear.

Indonesian activewear modest fashion brand, HIA EveryWear

In Indonesia, we see this modest activewear is rising as well. One such is, HIA EveryWear, a relatively new but strong-heeled brand that is dedicated to creating well-designed products for women's comfort and confidence while fostering a sense of community among like-minded individuals. The rise in modest activewear popularity highlights both changing consumer preferences and the industry's recognition of diverse customer needs.

Indonesia's Ascent as the Future Hub for Modest Fashion

Indonesia aims to be the global modest fashion hub by 2024, not just a distant goal. The nation's demographics make it a strong candidate, being the most populous Muslim country. With the growing global Muslim population, Indonesia is at the center of a thriving market for modest fashion.

What's particularly intriguing is the rise of homegrown brands within Indonesia's modest fashion scene. As the industry gains momentum, it's not just major international retailers like H&M, Uniqlo, and COTTONINK that have taken notice. Local modest fashion brands have also become their own, making their presence felt. Brands like Buttonscarves, Heaven Lights, and This is Bendina are enjoying their own loyal troops of customers. Furthermore, the fashion landscape is evolving with the emergence of Indonesian fashion shows that specifically celebrate modest fashion, such as the Jakarta Muslim Fashion Week (JMFW). This yearly event featured a wide range of local modest fashion brands, potentially totaling $20.1 million in transactions.

Heaven Lights at Indonesian modest fashion runway, JMFW 2024

Indonesia's path to a global modest fashion hub is driven by local designers and brands, not just international giants. These factors, supported by the Indonesian government, bode well for the nation's future in the modest fashion.

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Walking into a store and seeing sports logos on high-fashion items is no longer a rare sighting. For instance, we can see Gucci’s collaboration with Adidas and Jacquemus’ with Nike. Such luxury and activewear brand collaborations have been increasingly working together with sports and street-style brands. Further, the activewear market is expected to reach $231.7 billion by 2024.

Collaborations between luxury and activewear brands mutually benefit both. Products from these collaborative collections reselling for up to 10 times their original value on the market. Moreover, collaborations like these are also an excellent way for both brands to widen their audience and enter a market they may not have been able to on their own.

Luxury brands draw their appeal from their quality and exclusivity above all. Meanwhile, activewear brands draw their appeal from the close-knit relationship they have with their customers—some
would say an almost “cult-like” relationship. So, luxury brands want in on this. A cross-over between two luxuries and activewear brands at the top of their game would help boost their sales and brand image subsequently.

Luxury & Activewear Brands are Here to Stay

With online influencers and Gen Z stealing the show for upcoming fashion trends and styles, collaborations with activewear brands are a great way for luxury brands to rejuvenate their image and audience. Therefore, cross-over collections further attest to the notion that streetwear can be high-fashion and even luxurious. Gone are the days of athleisure simply for lazing around (though it was the norm during the pandemic). Today, they can be seen in offices and even on red carpets.

A 2019 study from Statista reported that 67% of Gen Z respondents purchased luxury items from collaborations. It’s evident that partnerships like these allow consumers to enter the luxury market at a much younger age than ever. You don't need to have "made it in life" to own a luxury item. In addition, the hype created around collaborative products among younger consumers pushes the drive for even more collaborations in the future.

The Supreme-macy of Louis Vuitton

Believe it or not, Louis Vuitton was the pioneer in accepting activewear collaboration into its collection. In 2017, Louis Vuitton was the first luxury brand to openly embrace the streetwear movement,
creating its capsule collection with the skater culture emblem: Supreme.

Such collaborations used to be rare and niche, targeting specific buyers and audiences who already follow those brands. However, they almost seem to be a part of the fashion culture today. Season after season, streetwear fans wait for more cross-over collections to “drop,” anticipating new creations that are often sold for only a limited time.

With luxury brands’ scarcity marketing tactics, these cross-over collections can come at a hefty price. In addition to that, it usually being paired with limited-time-only sales, so items from luxury x streetwear collaborations can be resale for up to ten times their original value.

These prices certainly don’t come for no reason. As a result, these collaborations often boast high-quality items with interesting and quirky designs—designs not often seen in luxurious and high-fashion collections, in which often feature romantic and soft lines. Streetwear, on the other hand, tends to be loud, even choppy at times. A marriage between luxury and streetwear aims to combine two completely different styles and create a new one, delivering both style and performance.

The Endless Possibility of the Luxury & Activewear Collaboration

Such collaborations often cross countries and cultures. For example, Italian brands working with American brands, blend fashion styles and inspirations that would appeal to both cultures. Brands that often may not have any similarities with each other, that often even have nothing to do with each other, however, most likely create one of the most memorable collaborations. And maybe that’s why these luxury x activewear collections are so highly anticipated. You never know what’s coming.

With the ever-changing landscape of the fashion world, function is no longer enough. Items must also be fashionable and creative, even experimental. Wearable certainly not only just for sports and athletics but for everyday life: for errands and to work. Collaborations achieve this by creating cult-favorite looks with materials and techniques similarly reserved for outerwear and sports. Serena Williams rocked an Off-White x Nike tutu, celebrities boasting Dior Air Jordans, and the list goes on.

Exciting luxury & activewear brands we've seen so far in 2023...

Tiffany & Co. x Nike

Luxury & activewear brands collaboration by Tiffany & Co. and Nike

The collaboration—a first for the jewelry brand, features the classic Air Force 1 in all-black with Nike’s signature logo in the iconic Tiffany Blue. The shoe is adorned with a .925 sterling silver heel tab. Furthermore, consumers can even snag limited-edition sterling silver accessories too, including a shoe horn, shoe cleaning brush, and whistle.

Miu Miu x New Balance

Luxury & activewear brands collaboration by Miu Miu & New Balance

The collaboration sneakers will highlight New Balance’s iconic 574 silhouettes in three colors: fringed blue, marble-effect cognac denim, and blanched white vintage-look Nappa leather. According to The Glossary, the collection blends “Miu Miu’s raw-edged aesthetic with New Balance’s retro-inspired designs, the trainers embody the concept of reinvention, transitioning from deconstruction to reconstruction while leaving traces of its evolution behind. As a result, it creates a pair of sneakers that combines Italian chic with all-American athleticism.”

Maison Margiela x Gentle Monster

Luxury & experimental brands collaboration by Maison Margiela and Gentle Monster

Combining Maison Margiela’s iconic avant-garde and experimental designs with Gentle Monster’s simple and classy sunnies, the 11-piece collection for men and women boasts a retro style of sports sunglasses. The collection calls itself “an infinite tool for self-expression, the genderless line includes a selection of sunglasses and spectacles drawing on their shared belief in experimental craftsmanship” (Maison Margiela).

Stüssy x Levi’s

Brand collaboration between Stüssy & Levi’s

This new capsule collection features a pair of 501® jeans and a modified Type II Trucker
Jacket, reimagining two classic Levi’s silhouettes with Stüssy’s aesthetic. The collection
goes so far even to create “a custom co-branded back patch combining the Levi’s Two
Horse Pull & Stüssy logos” (Levi’s).

In conclusion, the burgeoning trend of luxury and activewear collaborations has revolutionized the fashion industry, bridging the gap between style and functionality like never before. These dynamic partnerships have not only redefined the way we approach fashion but also empowered individuals to effortlessly embrace both comfort and elegance in their everyday attire.

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