A group of young hijab-wearing women who began posting pictures on Instagram to connect with friends and family have become unexpected influencers catering to Australia’s ‘modest fashion’ market.
Narwal Sari had been working multiple jobs when she began posting self-styled fashion snaps to the social media platform in 2014 after noticing a gap in the industry.
‘I didn’t feel that there was somebody that I could relate to in the sense of fashion or having a Muslim sister that I could look up to,’ the 21-year old told the ABC.
Narwal Sari (pictured) had been working multiple jobs when she began posting self-styled fashion snaps to the social media platform in 2014 after noticing a gap in the industry
Sana Sayed (pictured) is another young women who has caught the eye of Australia’s modest fashions labels after garnering a following of more than 130,000 people
Ms Sari, from Liverpool in western Sydney, said her account began getting a life of its own about 12 months ago and has continued growing.
Her followers have now ballooned to more than 180,000.
She explained she has now ditched her other jobs and posting fashion shoots has become her full-time occupation.
Her new job hardly involves sitting back as the money rolls in, however, with Ms Sari adding she has not had a single day off since with her time filled with with planning, shooting and posting her photos.
‘I booked a few jobs like Nike and Supre, but it wasn’t until I got management that they really pitched for me and I really got my foot in the door of a market that I could never get in by myself,’ she said.
She added she spends up to two hours setting up photoshoots herself.
Also from Sydney, Sana Sayed, is another young woman who has caught the eye of Australia’s modest fashion labels after garnering a following of more than 130,000.
Her story echoes Ms Sari’s, with the 20-year old signing up to Instagram in 2017 to post pictures for friends and family, but she too found a wider audience.
While still a full-time university student she has managed to attract the attention of Grammy award winning singer Rihanna’s makeup business Fenty Beauty.
‘I post fashion advice and I show different ways of how I style outfits and my Hijab, which I think inspires women,’ Ms Sayed explained.
She revealed her payment for a sponsored post can begin at about $400 and then go up to anywhere as much as $4,000.
‘I didn’t feel that there was somebody that I could relate to in the sense of fashion or having a Muslim sister that I could look up to,’ 21-year old Ms Sari (pictured) said
Ms Sayed (pictured) explained she has now ditched her other jobs and posting fashion shoots has become her full-time occupation
Longer sleeves, higher necklines, looser fits and opaque fabrics are the signatures of the fashion movement.
The styles have been worn for years among women from a number of cultural and religious backgrounds – but the designs are also finding a wider audience among fashion trendsetters.
The modest fashion industry in Australia is sizable – with a 2018 report estimating Muslim citizens, along with about 565,000 tourists, spent more than half a billion dollars on clothing in Australia that year.
Globally the numbers are staggering with a 2016 report estimating the modest fashion industry was worth $250billion.
By 2022 that number could rise to $373billion, according to The Washington Post.
Stores such as H&M have released modest fashion lines while global giant Nike waded into the movement in 2017 releasing an athletic-wear hijab followed by modest swimwear in 2019.
Nike in 2017 launched a specially-designed hijab, pictured, aimed at helping more Muslim women ’embrace sport’
The Nike Swim Hijab, pictured, features an integrated mesh pocket that holds hair in place throughout underwater movement. Shown with the Performance Nike Victory Tunic
Natalie Giddings, managing director of The Remarkables Group, says influencers have increasingly become a major focus for brands because they are able to directly reach a large audience.
Ms Giddings pioneered influencer marketing in Australia with the Sydney based agency in 2012 and now calls a number of Australia’s largest companies her clients.
She says shoppers are more likely to trust recommendations from Instagrammers they follow because they feel they have a personal connection with them, as though they are following a friend.
Not to mention the numbers of followers are also impressive – causing marketers to shift towards a new style of promoting products over traditional publications.
Ms Giddings explains a magazine such as Vogue would sell about 55,000 copies each month, while some of the people her business works with would have hundreds of thousands of people receiving each post.
Ms Sari (pictured), from Liverpool in western Sydney, said her account began getting a life of its own about 12-months ago and has continued growing – to the stage now where her followers have ballooned to more than 180,000 people