Sometime last week H&M announced the launch of its new modest fashion line, aimed at being more inclusive and catering to a diverse range of audiences. First of all, I think that’s pretty cool, but I’m not surprised at the announcement looking at how much the modest fashion industry is worth (it’s expected to reach $368 billion by 2021!) and how I think businesses are moving towards that to get a piece of the pie (not a bad thing if consumers get to benefit from better materials, craftsmanship, etc.). Though I have to say this: For a major fashion retailer that has shown at Paris Fashion Week, I think they can do better than this. They’re designs that we’ve seen many times before and I do hope to see more prints, colours, and silhouettes being explored in future drops.
What did intrigue me about this whole affair is how the internet and social media space is receiving the collection and a few of the Instagrammers who I follow (@rumastyles & @ishaloona) raised an issue that I think most people exclude from the conversations around modest fashion: That we should keep in mind the sources of the clothes that we wear. I’m writing this from the point of view of a fashion lover who practises a faith that, like most religions, encourages you to be good and do good. When you think about it, that goal extends into fashion by reminding us that our clothes should come from ethical sources.
Until now, the intersection between fashion and faith has been centred around creating more clothing options that provide extra coverage, and the rise of modest fashion influencers who have catapulted the modest fashion scene into mainstream media. I think this will gradually grow to include conversations around fashion ethics and sustainability, where consumers can really play a huge part by holding brands responsible for the practices they engage in.
It’s also a good reminder for consumers like me to think twice about how we spend our money. Conscious shopping isn’t something that I myself am completely used to (the most that I do to cut down on my fast fashion purchases is shopping at vintage and thrift stores) but rethinking the sources of my clothes is something that I will be doing more of in the future. Not an overnight transformation, but a practice that I can integrate into the ways that I choose to express myself.
What are your thoughts?