Modest fashion and the Modern headscarf

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In theory, silk scarves have everything going for them. Indeed, that’s exactly what Shahira Yusuf recently said about Basma Design! They're an uplifting hit of colour and pattern, evoking the breezy glamour of Audrey Hepburn and Elizabeth Taylor. They’re hypo-allergenic, regulate temperature in all climes, versatile and non-prescriptive. When it comes to my own design process and to brands such as Hermès and Gucci, with their floral fantasias or Henri Rousseau-esque jungles, scarves can be a wearable work of art, which is central to my creative passion. 

In reality, the silk square has often been less synonymous with Hollywood glamour than with the Queen in doughty Balmoral mode. Of course, with Her Majesty’s signature style code being honoured by Richard Quinn at London Fashion Week and Edward Enninful's first UK Vogue featuring a turban resembling a knotted headscarf, as worn by Adwoa Aboah, this has all changed. Modest fashion has gone mainstream and western fashion has joined in.

Just as Princess Diana's sloaney 1980s wardrobe has pinged back into fashion, the silk scarf is on the brink of a renaissance and this excites me enormously.

Sally Matthews, creative director of the luxury online platform The Modist, says "A beautiful silk scarf can be a key item in a modest wardrobe," while she makes clear that while "some [scarves] are being worn as head scarves or tied into a turban, this isn't because of religious reasons per se – our customers come from a diverse range of backgrounds and religions."

Having been in business for barely a year, I am so thrilled with the timing of this cultural shift in the fashion world as events such as London Modest Fashion Week really take off. Not only that, but last month I had my Azurite Blue square silk scarf worn by the beautiful Shahira Yusuf, the game changing hijab-wearing model recently featured on the BBC, who is redefining the famously prescriptive industry. For those who wear a scarf every day, having a unique, timeless, innovative piece of wearable art as their scarf of choice is really refreshing and the appeal seems to be catching on among the fashion scene as I notice on the high street and even at the gym.

Over the last few years, the fashion world seems to have tuned into a “new” demographic: Muslim women and others for whom dressing conservatively is a religious or cultural choice. Nike has released a Nike Pro hijab, and Mariah Idrissi is revolutionising the silk scarf’s image here in the UK, as she did so famously with the recent H&M campaign. The perception of ‘modest fashion’ has changed, revealing an untapped market. It’s no longer about wearing a big black scarf or abaya but is rather considered a great way of expressing ourselves and a super means for retailers to diversify and upsell too.

From Diana to Kate and from Shahira to Mariah, the square silk scarf is nothing if not versatile. In today’s climate, many wonder whether the silk headscarf is also a feminist statement and, whether or not you agree, it’s very clearly been redefined by some amazing women. 

#modestfashion #lmfw #headscarves #silkscarves #basmadesign