Modest fashion may gain popularity, but the fashion industry isn’t ready for this shift. That is, until now. Fashion designer Ameera started her eponymous modest clothing label just two weeks ago. Tribute to Magazine conversed with the twenty-five-year-old creative about modesty, sustainability, and the importance of representation.
Cover photo: courtesy of Ameera
Ameera’s Modest Fashion Journey
TT: You’re tapping into the needs of many women who want modest clothing. There aren’t many brands that offer solely this type of clothes, which makes them hard to find.
Ameera: ‘That’s definitely what I thought when developing the brand. My childhood dream was to have a fashion brand. When I started, I did some marketing research and discovered that 89% of the women I surveyed had difficulty finding modest clothing. There’s a much bigger need than I even expected.’
It’s good to know you’re on the right track. Can you tell me a bit more about yourself?
A: ‘I studied Business at Boston University. I was always interested in fashion, knowing that I always wanted to have my own business. In my junior year, I knew I wanted to do something in fashion. During my senior year, I had a conversation with my professor. I didn’t know what to do since starting a clothing line is a lot of work. It isn’t very stable at first. So, I started to work in the healthcare industry – not the industry I wanted, but it provided the time to work on my brand behind the scenes. Due to covid, I unfortunately lost my job, but that was the silver lining and kick in the but to start my idea. From there, I started doing market research and figuring out the designs. I officially launched two weeks ago.’
TT: How were the first reactions?
A: ‘Pretty good. I thought I would have zero sales, but that wasn’t the case. My friends and family were very supportive, which helped as well.’
TT: And how would you describe your brand?
A: ‘I thought of this last week. It’s a brand that’s returning the elegance in modest dressing but with the practicality of the modern day. If you look at fashion thirty years ago, it all was pretty modest – but not that practical for the modern-day; therefore, I create modest wardrobe essentials, like a white T-shirt, but then make it modest. In my recent launch, there’s a silk set you can both sleep in, but it’s luxurious enough to wear to a fancy dinner or event.’
TT: What about sustainability?
A: ‘I design with a sustainable mindset. When researching materials, I check their environmental impact in the long run and base my decisions on that impact. Furthermore, I watched the documentary “The True Cost,” which was a big eye-opener. It made me aware of the fact that if I wanted to work in fashion, it had to be in a sustainable way. It was very impactful.’
New in the fashion industry
TT: And how have you learned about the fashion industry? It seems hard to enter it when you don’t have a background in fashion.
A: ‘I worked at two New York Fashion Weeks. Once at some independent designers, and another time at Tibi. I learned a lot from them.’
TT: What did you do at Tibi?
A: ‘I did a lot of PR work, honestly, but since I was interested in design, I also helped the designers. By doing so, I could ask them many questions about the design process – very insightful.’
TT: In earlier interviews, you talked about a pain point in the market: the lack of modest fashion in the fashion industry. How do you view this problem?
A: ‘Yeah, you hit the nail on the head. There’s no modest fashion brand; that’s the main issue I’m trying to solve. The women I interviewed didn’t like the clothes they were wearing. It made them feel frumpy not confident. Most dress modestly for their faith, which is a huge value for them, but no one wants to look bad all day. They were shopping in the men’s sections as well. For some people, that’s fun, and they choose to do it, but it isn’t that funny when you’re forced to. So, the bigger problem is a lack of representation within the fashion industry. I want to give women empowering wardrobes without sacrificing their style. They can finally have both.’
TT: Representation is so important for everyone. In every sense, the fashion industry falls short at this moment. I’m thrilled to see a brand like Ameera enter the market.
A: ‘Thanks. I remember that when I grew up, there wasn’t anyone who looked like me in the industry. A little more diversity in shape, skin color, and so on is emerging, but so much needs to be done. The women on both the runway and backstage should be more diverse, including disabilities, heights, sizes, etc. We’ve finally started to have voices that demand change, but it will still take a while before we see widespread change.’
TT: We’re heading in the right direction, but it’s just the start. So, what does modest fashion mean to you?
A: ‘Modest fashion is more than just the fashion itself. It’s a lifestyle. Modesty with the way you carry yourself is in clothes that don’t reveal your figure too much and add some mystery to the person wearing it, but it also applies to other things in life like spending, eating, and shopping. It’s about living your entire life modestly.’
TT: What will your following collections or product drops be like?
A: ‘I’m working on a winter collection now. I work on the perfect denim maxi skirt at the moment as well. It’s something my mom has always wanted but never could find. She inspired me to start the brand. She asked me to make her a maxi skirt that wasn’t see-through or torn in any way. So here we are. Also, for the winter collection, I’m doing something Clueless-inspired. We will recreate a modest version of the iconic yellow suit.’
TT: At last, where do you see the brand in five years?
A: ‘Five years from now, I hope to be the leader in modest womenswear. I want to be the go-to place where you can find all modest fashion in one place. Because I think that’s lacking, it’s time to make a change.’