As Grazia’s Girl Gang advocate for Modesty and the first hijab-wearing model to be cast in a mainstream fashion campaign, it’s safe to say Mariah Idrissi is an authority on Modest Fashion.
And this February, the London-born boundary-breaker will speak at the first ever Middle East Youth Expo 2020, to give the youth delegates in attendance a real sense of what her mission means in a 21st century context.
“Modest Fashion appears to be most affiliated with Muslim women but women of all faiths and backgrounds also adopt the concept of covering up. For some women, it is empowering to choose to cover their bodies rather than experience the pressures of society for women to look a certain way,” she tells Grazia Middle East.
With her faith influencing everything she does, Mariah admits she has turned down work “compromising my beliefs and morality” in the past, and has some scepticism when it comes to brands that are jumping on the diversity bandwagon.
And while she acknowledges that the fashion industry is “doing better” and has been making strides to be more inclusive over the past five to six years, she believes it’s going to take a lot longer for equality and equal opportunity to trump equity, and for her Modest Fashion mission to truly be accomplished.
“The question for me is, ‘how much has Modest Fashion amongst Muslim women changed to accommodate the fashion brands and is Social Media a driving force for this change?’ I think brands and opinions around it are certainly changing, some because it’s become more mainstream and some because they understand the need to accommodate it, whether that’s socially or financially.”
• The Middle East Youth Expo 2020 takes place from 3 - 5 February in Abu Dhabi. Visit themiddleeastyouthexpo.com for more information