Photo collage (from left): Safiya Abdullah, Melanie Elturk, Dima Ayad, Noura Kaiss, and Sebina Hussein. Source: Instagram
The market for Muslim fashion remains relatively untapped, yet a new brand hits the shelves nearly every month. More and more young entrepreneurs are scouting for opportunities in the market, but getting the branding right seems to be a tough nut to crack.
My Salaam spoke to some of the popular modest-fashion brands and influencers about the best ways to promote brands.
Designer Safiya Abdullah set up a modern and minimalist label purely based on her passion for fashion and design, but she never thought she’d become an influencer one day. She noticed that it was the posts of herself that received the most engagement on the brand’s Instagram account, and she now has more than 22,000 followers.
“I got so much more engagement when I would come on the scene and the people saw who was behind the ideas and the brand, whereas before, when it was just a model, they didn’t feel as passionate about my posts,” she said.
Beauty, lifestyle and travel blogger Sebina Hussein, or Sebinaah as she is known on Instagram, feels that modest-fashion events present a great opportunity to build one’s brand. My Salaam met her during the Dubai Modest Fashion Week in December.
“When I come here and my followers see that I’m with other bloggers they follow, even though they [my followers] are not here, it empowers them. This is so important, especially in a time when we’re constantly being told that Muslim women don’t have a voice and that they are oppressed.”
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Sebina, who works in the legal sector in the UK, says that social media content should be pre-planned and photos highlighting the practicality of modest outfits tend to attract more followers. She now has about 350,000 followers on Instagram.
“I go out with my husband on the weekend and we do two to three outfit shoots in real-life situations so that people can see how it works. This way my audience knows that they can visit my page on a daily basis and find something new,” she added.
Franka Soeria, co-founder of Think Fashion, which organizes Modest Fashion Week, says that brands can leverage from international modest-fashion platforms. Think Fashion has more than 23,000 followers on Instagram.
“People follow us because we are a global platform for modest fashion. What we are trying to do is introduce new names. We don’t only post about the famous ones or the same name again and again. We showcase lesser known designers as well,” he said.
Dima Ayad, PR & Marketing Director of Dubai-based modest-fashion brand The Modist, believes influencers have a large following because audiences want to see individuals they admire or look up to.
Creating a unique launch video can also help. “[Our] video featured four women from four different worlds coming together as a united force and feeling that they fit in regardless of shape, size, religion, or background. The video was successful and received thousands of likes on social media because it really spoke to modest dressers,” she said.
One of the most popular modest brands in the U.S., Haute Hijab has been releasing a new collection every week for the past six years. According to CEO Melanie Elturk, this has significantly contributed to the brand’s popularity.
Haute Hijab has more than 177,000 followers on Instagram, and Melanie believes that their success on social media lies at the core of the brand’s offering.
“The value-add is that I’m working on my customers’ behalf and for myself to elevate hijab as a whole. I think this is why people are attached to us and are super loyal to our brands: because they know that they are buying into something bigger. It’s not just the product. It’s not just the hijab,” she said.
Canadian blogger and influencer Nour Kaiss is the founder of the fashion brand Nourka and the online Islamic marketplace Souqina. She believes that letting go of limits is why she was able to attract her large audience of over 286,000 followers on Instagram.
She cites the birth of her baby a couple of months earlier as a moment when she had to make a simple but important choice about limits: should she post the baby’s pictures on social media?
“Initially, I wanted to put certain limits, but eventually I felt like it would be really a lot more personable if I were open with everyone and with myself. When I let my guard down, a lot of people were able to relate to me a lot better, I feel,” she said.
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