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Sun 7 Jul 2013 10:06 AM

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Rise of the Islamic fashion industry

Founders of Abaya Addict talk about the significance of the untapped $96bn industry

Rise of the Islamic fashion industry

Only a year and a half old, Abaya Addict is already enjoying great success and is now seeking a bigger share of the $96bn fashion industry.

Modest fashion is a design sub segment created to address the needs of Muslim women who are looking for a garment that covers them from neck to ankle in a modern and fashionable way.  “Islamic fashion is a new concept; there is currently no market leader for Islamic fashion,” said Deanna Khalil, the designer and founder of Abaya Addict.


“Some major designers are doing Abayas, but there wasn’t anyone doing everyday clothing with long sleeves and hem lines for Muslim women, or people who love to dress modestly. So that’s really our market and that is where we have been shining,” she explained.

Abaya Addict was founded by Deanna Khalil, a certified medical practitioner with a passion for fashion, and her husband, Ahmed Aduib, who’s financing the whole operation and believes in its unlimited potential.

“The market is crazy. People don’t understand how big of a market this could be and that is why our goal is to be the number one modest fashion brand worldwide.”

This November, Abaya Addict will have the opportunity to be in Malaysia for the Mercedes Benz fashion week. They were sought out by the event organisers and are also set to display at fashion shows across LA, New York, Miami, Chicago and Texas.

According to them, Dubai and the Middle East in general is an untapped market and that the Western and Pan Asian culture already embraces this concept. There is no apparent market leader beyond the development of abayas, but the potential of this market goes significantly beyond that single scope.

“You are missing a huge part; you have a large number of women that aren’t being catered to. They end up having to buy pieces that they find in the mall and layer them on top of each other,” stated Aduib.

“Bloomberg just did a study to figure out how big this market is and they discovered it was $96bn, a very surprising number, and the issue is that there is no brand that focuses on it locally.”

Most fashion is not just for Muslims. According to a survey ran online by Abaya Addict, 10 percent of the respondents where Christians that need to go to church, for example, need to wear something modest. Out of 700 participants, 70 percent said that they are not able to find anything completely covered yet fashionable when they go to the malls.

“Lately the big brands have been seeing a drop in the numbers of the normal fashion market so they’ve been trying to tap into this market. I just read that Valentino started making long sleeve dresses because they know that this is a huge market, especially in Europe, where there are 34 million Muslims,” explained Aduib

Abbaya Addict started with 10 dresses on a website, but now it is a business selling over 500 items a month and has 27,000 followers on Facebook.

Aduib issued a challenge to all other potential designers: “There is a complete vacuum right now in this industry and no one has yet taken the mantle, and I think we’ll be the ones to do that.”

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Sayed 6 years ago

Huge market abaya addict will be a househould name in the muslim community in the coming years

Fahad 6 years ago

Islam doesnt allow a women to be a poster girl, this is a disgrace to abaya and according to the law if we are talking about islam it cannot be flashy, and here we are talking about islamic fashion that too abaya. Its actually a shame for this abaya company if they use islam to sell this concept.

Ali 6 years ago

fashion and modesty are two concepts that can not co-exist, their respective objectives are polar opposites. This does not mean muslim women should look shabby. The concept of hijab should be clarified for muslim women, but unfortunately people like "abbaya addict" dont help in that aspect, since they probably dont understand the concept themselves

Hasan 6 years ago

You've hit the Bulls eye Ali. It's rather unfortunate to see that the concept of 'modesty' is so clearly misunderstood. The whole purpose of Hijab is defeated here the moment we give the fashion angle to this.

Minaka 6 years ago

As usual, the men have their opinions on how women should dress - I would be more interested in hearing what the Muslim women who actually wear abayas have to say about this?

Fatima Blues 6 years ago

Hi. I'm Fatima. I live in UK. I'm a fashion designer who designs clothing for muslim ladies. I'm also working on trends for muslim mens wear.
I would like to get as many people involved in the discussion and debate on islamic fashion. Some muslims have suggested muslim women are like nuns. A very Christian concept indeed! That is to say, without make up or glamour. History of fashion shows muslims have worn some of the most glamorous clothing that time has shown. Please join me - Fatima Blues on facebook and become friends with me. A discussion forum on facebook will help you to understand what we practice in the west as high fashion and what muslims actually want? For instance - can western style designs be considered appropriate for Islamic High Fashion?? And what is islamic high fashion?

Looking forward to hearing from you. Salaam.

Maria Canhoto 6 years ago

Hi fatima I found Muslim culture very modest they have more respect for women in this respect.I am catholic very attracted to the Muslim fashion due to modesty. You have good taste in colours and patterns I live in an area were a lot of Muslim people live.the young girls really are so stylish with their head coverings .All the best to your career good choice.


Maria Canhoto

Hafeeza Noor 4 years ago

It feels great to see that many fashion designers are coming with with the new trends of Muslim clothes. Along with abaya addict, i love the designs offered by EastEssence.