By Manar Alhinai
From Mastoor’s Desert Caravan Collection 2020. Photo credits: Mounir Raji. Styling by: Richard Schreefel. Art Directors: Abu Shaheem & Umm Uways. Copyright holder: Mastoor Co.
Over the last decade, social media has paved the way for modest womenswear blogs and influencers to rise. Modest fashion is about dressing in fashion garments that are aligned with one’s religious beliefs or preferred way of dressing. Though currently associated with Muslim women, women from various religious and cultural backgrounds are opting for modest fashion.
According to the State of the Global Islamic Economy Report 2020/21, the modest fashion industry is valued at USD 277 billion and estimated to grow to USD 311 billion by 2024. Top fashion houses such as Tory Burch and Burberry introduced special collections to cater to the growing modest wear market segment. In 2017, Nike introduced a sports hijab.
Though modest womenswear continues to see a surge in demand, there is still room to cater to modest menswear. The common image that comes to mind when thinking of modest menswear is a thobe, a long dress worn by Arab and Muslim men.
Mastoor, which means covering a body with modesty in Arabic, is on a mission to cater to men looking for modest clothing. Co-founded by Moroccan-Dutch husband-and-wife Abu Shaheem and Umm Uways in 2019, the Amsterdam-based fashion brand is inspired by the limitations in the range of menswear today, and is on a mission to introduce stylish menswear designed with Islamic guidelines in mind.
In the following interview, Abu Shaheem recounts the beginnings of building Mastoor, the global reactions to their fashion collections and their aspiration for their brand. This interview was edited for the purposes of length and clarity.
How did your Afro-European background affect your fashion design process?
AS: We were in search of menswear that could fit in both worlds. Imagine going to the mosque with traditional clothing and going back to work (office or wherever) where the Western society doesn’t share the same values or guidelines when it comes to clothing. We wanted to create something that could fit in both worlds without denying our identity and ethics.
From Mastoor’s Moonsight Collection 2022. Photo credits: Mounir Raji. Styling by: Richard Schreefel. Art Directors: Abu Shaheem & Umm Uways. Copyright holder: Mastoor Co.
How does your modest fashion collection differ from what is currently offered in the market?
AS: Western society has a notion that only Muslim women are obliged to cover themselves and their private parts. But the fact is that concealing specific parts of the body goes for men and women. The body parts that should be covered is called awrah in Arabic.
We currently offer a wide range of sustainable and fashionable garments within the guidelines that cover the awrah. For example, the practical use of our denims and worker pants for making the prayer actions more comfortable. Second, our t-shirts and sweaters are all loose fit and have an extended fit in comparison to regular shirts and sweaters on the market. Around the Ramadan and Eid seasons we offer exclusive thobes in unique fabrics and colours.
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