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Mediating Modesty: Focus for the Future

15 June 11

London College of Fashion, 15th June 2011

To listen to other presentations and discussions at the symposium, use the links on this and linked pages and click here for the introduction.

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Reina Lewis (London College of Fashion, University of the Arts London) Click here to listen to/download the podcast.

Reina Lewis returned to introduce the final session of the day symposium by identifying various issues raised by the research, and indicating where further discussion could lead.  Many of these had been raised in the course of the day, and she went on to categorise three significant areas for further discussion:

  • The visual: how do those who are publishing images on modest dressing websites obtain, create and select images?  The decisions are not merely editorial, but spiritual and ethical as well.
  • The consumer: how is the marketing of modest fashion relating to the potential for breadth and religious diversity amongst consumers?
  • The internet: to what extent is the internet not only facilitating a growing market for modest fashion, but shaping how it develops?

Two Examples of Modest Fashion Online Business

The founders of two online modest fashion businesses, one Mormon, the other Muslim, were invited to address the symposium to tell their personal stories of how their companies and online presence had developed, and how their markets had developed beyond the boundaries of their own faiths.

ModBod

Shellie Slade [Founder and Owner] Click here to listen to/download the podcast.

Shellie Slade founded ModBod as a response to the lack of availability of clothing for her daughters which would meet the requirements of the Latter-Day Saints dress codes.  She started by developing designs which would serve a local Mormon niche market in Utah, fashionable but covering the parts of the body judged necessary by her faith, often by inclusion in a layered outfit.  Word spread quickly and the business grew fast. The company now sells in 140 Walmart stores across the USA, and Costco stores, as well as online.

Maysaa

Hana Tajima-Simpson [Founder and Designer] Click here to listen to/download the podcast.

Hana Tajima-Simpson is a designer and a convert to Islam. Together with a business partner she launched Maysaa.com in 2010.  They aimed to look distinctive, established and trustworthy. They saw as their competition not other “modest” labels but high street stores.  Their distinctive feature lay in the designs themselves. As a new convert she came to design without preconceptions, and recognising the wide range of cultures represented by potential shoppers. 

At the end of each session the speakers responded to comments and questions from the audience. Follow this link to listen to the discussion following this presentation.

Report and podcasts compiled by Norman Winter. Recordings of the symposium sessions are substantially complete, but may have been edited in small ways for technical and other reasons.

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