Aab: How a Modest Fashion Line is Breaking into the Mainstream Market

For Muslim women living in the west, buying fashionable clothes to fit their religious needs has always been difficult to do. Staying with the latest fashion trend has meant spending more on separate items of clothing in order to look good and be covered at the same time.

Realising that there was a gap in the market, owners of the modest fashion label ‘Aab‘ saw a niche in the market and began designing clothes for “women who love fashion but want to wear it in a modest manner”.

The designers of the brand – who want to remain anonymous to not be identified with the brandwanted to create “an alternative” to what was already being sold in the mainstream market.

“Aab was born out of a desire to create high-end quality garments taking inspiration from current catwalk trends and incorporating these trends into a collection”.

The clothing line has now become an alternative not only to mainstream fashion, but a change from the traditional long black dress worn by women in many Muslim countries.

“We believed in ourselves and what we set out to do, and were confident that the need for this product would get credibility and acceptance”.

Speaking on how much influence the religion of Islam has had on their clothing line, they stated that “modesty is a key element of our religion and we try to provide modest clothing catering for the Muslim and non-Muslim market”.

Aab’s retail store at The Broadway, Bradford

After a successful first opening of their retail store in London in March 2015, the brand was approached by mainstream shopping centre Westfield, who asked them to open a second store at their latest project mall The Broadway. Not long after the opening of their first store did they open up the second store in December 2015 at The Broadway, which catered to the wider Muslim-populated area of Bradford.

Muslim women of all ages flocked to the second store opening from all over the UK. The brand also took the opportunity to launch their own jewellery line along with new season wardrobes. Before the opening of store, the fashion line itself branched out into separate collections which included work-wear, occasion pieces and vacation outfits. Since then, the store has been receiving mainstream recognition as a mainstream modest fashion brand.

Realising the potential amount to gain, mainstream high-fashion brands have now started creating ‘Muslim friendly’ attire for the practicing women who wants to keep themselves covered. Designer labels such as D&G and Tommy Hilfiger have all created clothes for the Muslim market, and H&M – realising the potential in the market – used a Muslim model for one of their advert campaigns to better reach out to the Muslim market.

LookaMillion – famous Vlogger and Make-up Artist- was invited to attend the store opening at the Broadway commented that the clothing is “very current” and “very in with modern-day-wear”. The YouTuber – who is very well known to Muslim women – was asked to do live hijab-tutorials at the store for the attendees.

“I came today with two other vloggers, Nabiilabee and HijabHills to represent the brand as a brand ambassador and just came to meet and greet the guests of the event and socialise”.

Israr Ahmed, the Retail Director for Aab – also explained the team’s ambitions.

Israr said they wanted to make the brand feel more mainstream. “We decided against putting a hijab on our model for Aab and using these photographs to go up in the store”.

The Aab team also decided against putting hijabs on the mannequins in the shop window.

“We’ve opened a shop in a mainstream shopping centre and instead of just aiming for Muslim women, we are aiming toward all women who are looking for an alternative in the latest fashion trends”.

The store was recently contacted by Dubai Mall based in the United Arab Emirates and was asked to open up their first store in the mall. Both owners of the brand stated that “this is a period of extensive growth, and we aim to have more of an international presence and look forward to rolling this out”.