Indonesia Seeks Lead In Global Modest-Fashion Industry

World’s most populous Muslim-majority country Indonesia, aims to lead the modest-fashion industry globally. Modest-fashion is the concept and anyone can actually wear it, be it those who wear hijab or not. That’s why it is called modest fashion instead of Muslim fashion and there is tight competition from major Muslim countries and also from minority nations too who are manufacturing apparel with bigger brands.

Indonesia would be a leader in this booming multibillion-dollar industry. But the country has struggled to become the world’s Muslim fashion capital, faced with challenges that range from poor production capacity and lack of professionalism to vigorous competition from megabrands that are jumping into the market for modest wear.

Franka Soeria, fashion consultant and co-founder of Modest Fashion Weeks stated that Indonesia could attain the status by improving its production and enhancing designs as per the international market trends. According to her, designers should closely follow the trend of different countries like Germany and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Soeria said in a Modest Fashion Founders Fund (MFFF) event in Jakarta on 20th September that the title for the leader in modest fashion is still up for grabs; even though Malaysia, Turkey and Saudi Arabia have claimed to be the leaders. She believes that the Indonesian fashion industry will grow in future besides facing competition from abroad.

The MFFF event was hosted by the Creative Economy Agency (Bekraf). In this, the designers are trained and given easier access to sharia-based funding from various banks like Bank Mandiri Syariah and BNI Syariah.

In 2017, Indonesia had the third-largest expenditure for Muslim apparels, worth US$20 billion as per the 2018 Global Islamic Economy (GIE) report. Turkey was the first with $28 billion and UAE second with $22 billion.

Muslim-minority countries such as Italy can be a tough competition for Indonesia as brands such as Dolce & Gabbana has already showcased their modest wear collection. H&M from Sweden and Marks & Spencer from Britain have also launched their modest clothing lines.

Fadjar Hutomo, Bekraf deputy for capital access, has great hopes for the Indonesian fashion industry. As modest wear is one of the fastest-growing creative sectors in Indonesia, he said.

Halida Sofia, an MFFF finalist started her brand, Dressofia, as the daily wear but later she rebranded it for a modest wear line in 2017. Dressofia is a modest wear brand with influences from the traditional Korean hanbok dress.

She also told that she had sold her apparels to other countries also like Malaysia, Brunei, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Turkey. And thus the modest fashion is a growing sector, and also there are various new players now. This can be taken as a good sign because the competition can make modest wear more affordable.

As per the report modest fashion industry’s contribution to the global Islamic economy would increase from $270 billion in 2017 to $361 billion in 2023, this will make it the third-largest contributor after Islamic finance’s $3.81 trillion and Halal food’s $1.86 trillion.

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