The Falling Hem and The Rise of Modest Fashion

Modest Fashion at Loewe AW17 | Picture retrieved from, Taken by Alessandro Garofalo /

If one were to take a stroll through yesteryear you may find yourself in 2004 immersed in a cloud of Abercrombie and Fitch fierce perfume.

2004 celebrated the fashions of less is more. Paris Hilton, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera ruled street style in an era pre-Kardashian. The trend setters strutted local malls turning heads with cropped barely there belly t-shirts, dangerously low rise jeans (preferably True Religion), preppy micro-mini skirts, or hot pants evoking a Beyonce classic “Bootylicious”.

Like the rising and falling tide, hemlines have now dropped and the glory days of “less is more” are at an end (much like the endangered whale-tale). Following a skimpy rhinestone encrusted decade, the 2010’s are shaping up to be the antithesis of “sex sells” cheap and chic fashion.

Sing Hallelujah. 

Balmain AW17| Picture retrieved from, Taken by Alessandro Garofalo /

Dries Van Noten AW17| Picture retrieved from, Taken by Lillie Eiger

Cue the rise of modest fashion. Modest Fashion, a trend in global dressing based on considered layering, raised necklines and conservative hemlines – including women from all cultures, backgrounds, and age. Everywhere you look on the runway these past few seasons, you see less skin and more textile bringing back a certain elegance and poise. Even Balmain known for barely there dresses has adopted a more covered approach. I view modest dressing in line with dressing for oneself and one’s own values as well as appealing to the creative eye of other women opposed to dressing for the attention of men – A philosophy in line with Leandra Medine’s phrase of “Man Repelling”.

Modest fashion is born from two major forces.

One: Increased cultural globalisation and an ever connected world. With Instagram and Facebook linking women from all 4 corners of the globe you foster a cultural melting pot and a mixing of tradition, values, and expectations. Catering to new demographics from diverse backgrounds, may it be for religiously conservative women, is a huge step forward culturally (and is a huge business opportunity) and brings about a global acceptance and understanding.

Two: Modest fashion is also born thanks to a rise of a new wave of feminism – sans burning bras – but one of acceptance, confidence, and poise. Iza Dezon, a trend forecaster at Peclers Paris calls the modest movement “pluri-empowerment”.

“An empowered woman is no longer subject to a specific definition, nor must she live by a specific set of values,” she explains to CNNStyle. “We’re seeing the opening up of what empowerment means, allowing women to create their own definitions.”

Simone Rocha AW17 | Picture retrieved from, Taken by Jacob Lillis

Christopher Kane AW17| Picture retrieved from, Taken by Alessandro Garofalo /

This means you are free to wear as much or little as you want – the choice is there and the acceptance is there.

Moreover, modest fashion ever so delicately contributes in levelling the playing field towards gender equality. With the “trend” being “more is more” one could see less societal pressure on relying on certain “assets” to reach goals and constitute a deeper focus on intellect and talent opposed to superficial benefits or unwanted attention of exposed flesh. Modest fashion celebrates women’s individuality and creativity and fosters turning heads and all eyes on YOU based on style, poise and elegance. Not necessarily a plunging V-Neck.

Mary Katrantzou AW17| Picture retrieved from, Taken by Alessandro Garofalo /