Modest clothing has become a mainstream fashion now and many multinational brands are coming up with their own modest fashion collection.
Fashion does not depend upon time and can never be held within boundaries. It sits in between emotions and comfort irrespective of choices.
When Esha Gupta, Founder, House of Zeniaa started her clothing line dedicated to only Muslim Women in India, she noticed, "There is no culture like the Muslim, where fashion has such a religious sentiment attached to it. Women are expected to wear covered clothes that do not attract male gaze and thus most of them end up in black burqas."
This was the seed of an idea, which with time took its course and became "House of Zeniaa". According to Esha, "House of Zeniaa" wanted to change that for the Muslim Women in India. Nowhere in the religious books of Quran is it mentioned that they have to wear black. These were the two things we kept in mind to balance the religious aspect while being fashion forward.
Modest clothing has become a mainstream fashion now and many multinational brands are coming up with their own modest fashion collection. Earlier Nike came up with Pro Hijab and now H&M has announced that they are launching a modest fashion collection.
For only a year old company to stand against multinational brands was a challenge but then when has success come without the taste of challenge on the tip of the tongue!
Esha says, "It’s definitely difficult to deal with Multi-national brands but a brand like ours caters to very diverse needs, we focus on a very personal experience with a client. We look at lots of options for everyone from formal to casual. We offer customization of colors and even embroideries."
Esha says, "In India, our Muslim audience is comparatively more conservative than abroad, it took us no time to establish ourselves in the US market. Indian Muslim women were scared of wearing something other than the black burqas, they didn’t look at fashion as an option. For this, we specially targeted the younger generation, since they were the ones who wanted to stick to their roots, follow religion and at the same time enjoy fashion. We tied up with various colleges & held events.”
Educating the Customers
Esha recalls, “When we started out, it was difficult for consumers to understand our concept. People in India haven’t heard of the word ‘abayas’, which is very popular in the Middle East. Our first major step was to educate our client about the product & its value. We did this through the marketing campaign, social media etc.”
Fusing Fashion and Culture
She adds, “Our abayas are colored and in beautiful silhouettes while being very conservative and not encouraging any unwanted attention. We are updated with the current trends in fashion & mold them in accordance with our modest fashion line.”
Esha explains her future plans as, “The opportunities are unlimited. In India, fashion for Muslim Women is limited to Burqas mostly and that’s where we grab the opportunity to give them something more. We plan on taking the brand forward not only online but also offline with franchises across India especially in areas where the Muslim population is densely situated. We also look at expanding from clothing to other lifestyle products and creating a marketplace for Muslim Women which is a one-stop-shop for all their needs.”