It needs no introduction. If you are a true modest fashion enthusiasm, you should already be in the know. Modest fashion pioneer, Modanisa launched in 2011 the very first online retail store dedicated to modest fashion. Modanisa also co-founded the Modest Fashion Week concept that made its debut in Istanbul in 2016.
Last March, the Modest Fashion Week came back to its birthplace for an unforgettable event. Modanisa successfully reunited major modest fashion influencers from all over the world. The company also unveiled its exclusive collaboration with the hijabi supermodel Halima.
So, what is the recipe for such a success? How did Modanisa cleverly pave the way for modest fashion?
Havva Kahraman, Modanisa Brand Manager kindly accepted to tell us more. She not only unveils the ingredients of Modanisa’s success but also shares with us her precious tips to build a successful career as hers.
Could you please present Modanisa for people who may not know it?
Modanisa is one of the first and largest e-tailers of ready-to-wear modest fashion in the world. We launched in 2011 and have enjoyed rapid growth. Today, we stock over 70,000 products, ranging from casual wear to evening and wedding dresses, sports and swimwear, and fashion accessories.
Tell us a more about your career and what led you to work at Modanisa?
I joined Modanisa in 2016, having worked in marketing and advertising for many years. Most of my clients were leading Turkish and international fashion brands. I’ve always loved fashion, so I decided to specialise in the sector. After I sold my marketing agency, I took a Higher Diploma in Fashion and Business at Canada’s renowned LaSalle College International. I then lived in the USA for a couple of years to continue my professional development in fashion.
What are the values of the company?
We embrace differences, and seek to play a positive part in the lives of our diverse customer base. We are a brand that’s true to our word: we seek to treat everyone we interact with fairly and honestly.
How do you explain the success of Modanisa?
Modanisa emerged at a time when Muslim women were desperate for more choice. As consumers, they had been ignored for years, so our premise was simple – to fill this important gap by offering affordable, trendy clothes that allow women to look and feel good without compromising on their beliefs and values.
Who are your customers?
Women of all ages buy from Modanisa, but especially teenagers and twenty somethings. The bulk of our shoppers live in Turkey, Europe and the Middle East, but as Modanisa delivers to 130 countries, it’s fair to say we have customers all over the world.
Influencers wearing Modanisa:
left: @fa6ma7sam – right: @omayazein and @lifelongpercussion
Along with your successful online retail store, you created the concept of Modest Fashion Weeks. Could you tell us more about the goal of this project and how was the first edition in Istanbul?
We held the very first Modest Fashion Week in Istanbul in May 2016. At the time, modest fashion was growing really quickly but we felt it wasn’t getting the global media attention it deserved. Also, there wasn’t an international platform to showcase new collections.
Istanbul is a natural meeting point between East and West. The city has established itself as one of the major global hubs for modest fashion, plus Modanisa is headquartered here, so it made sense to host the very first Modest Fashion Week in Istanbul.
The first event brought together so many amazing people from around the world and created a real buzz. Although from different cultural backgrounds, there was no doubting the feeling of togetherness we all felt through our common passion for fashion.
Since 2016, there have been a lot of MFW in different cities and this year it went back to Istanbul. You must have been very excited. Tell us more!
With the business case for Modest Fashion Week proven, our event partners Think Fashion decided to take the concept to different cities around the world, with Modanisa the main sponsor. It’s been to London, Dubai and Jakarta.
Last month (ed: last March), we brought Modest Fashion Week back “home” to Istanbul. It was an amazing few days of fashion shows, talks and networking. Twenty-one labels and designers from Turkey, Indonesia, Malaysia, the UK, USA, and UAE presented their latest collections. We also had great speakers for the industry panel discussions including modest fashion expert Prof. Reina Lewis and Turkish fashion mogul Süleyman Orakçıoğlu.
For Modanisa, it was doubly exciting because we unveiled three fabulous collaborations, turbans and shawls by Halima Aden, a sustainable fashion capsule of wardrobe staples from the First Lady of modest fashion Rabia Z, and affordable luxury wear by Turkish celebrity designer Nihan Peker.
What is your definition of modest fashion and how do you think it empowers women?
Modest fashion is essentially the conscious decision of a woman to be fashionable while wearing less skin-revealing clothes, whether this is for personal or religious reasons. At the very least, their clothes are not figure-hugging, the hemlines are at least half-length, and the arms and chest are fully covered. Some may choose to cover the neck and hair too. There is a lot of diversity within modest dressing too.
Our research shows women do not want to be defined merely by the way they dress, but nor do they want to be invisible. At Modanisa, we aim to give women the choice and confidence to dress as they please and feel good about themselves, while creating their own unique identity.
Halima x Modanisa
What is your philosophy in life and/or your favourite quote?
Two of my favourite quotes are: “Fashion passes, style remains” and “Live free or die”. Philosophy wise, it’s important to know that every moment of your life is precious and to live in and enjoy the moment.
What advice would you give to women willing to have a successful career as yours?
My advice is to invest in self-development during all stages of your professional life. Also, be open to learning about different fields, and then try to specialise in one field.