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
By Salma Awwad
Sun 07 Jul 2013 10:06 AM

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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