…and we got to ask the co-founder, Fatima Beg, a few questions.
The International Modest Fashion Design Festival is what dreams are made of.
The first time I heard about it was the summer before I moved to Toronto. My first thought? WHY couldn’t this have happened 10 years ago, when I was a wee 13 year old and everyone around me was trying to talk me out of pursing a career in fashion?!
IMFDF is more than just a fashion show; it’s the core of a movement across North America, and the world.
Too often, Muslim women are pushed to see fashion and modesty as being mutually exclusive. But this generation is showing otherwise. Even more, rather than compromise comfort levels, and display their designs at fashion shows that may conflict with some people’s understanding of Islam, a group of young people came together to design something that was just for them.
For us, by us; Although festival is by no means for Muslims only, it does cater to a large Muslim audience.
Here’s what Fatima Beg, the director of IMFDF, had to say about the show.
1) Why was this fashion festival created?
This fashion show was created for the growing demand in conservative fashion and what many “real women” are wanting to wear, which was difficult to find in mainstream fashion. Today, it is a little easier but we still have a long way to go. We wanted the runway to reflect the power behind modest fashion, and curate a show that leaves all our guests motivated through sisterhood and fashion. We take this opportunity to use fashion and conduct workshops about social causes, mental and physical health, and entrepreneurship. It’s a great platform to launch as an upcoming designer or brand.
2) What are some of the responses that you’ve gotten from participants?
Our attendees are taken aback by how diverse the crowd really is. This an inclusive event, and we are really happy that women from all age groups and walks of life can benefit and enjoy the show. The networking potential is huge, with international influencers and media attending; participating small businesses now have a unique marketing opportunity for exposure that goes beyond their reach.
3) Why did IMFDF seem necessary?
Toronto is home to many fashion events, but this segment of women weren’t a focus of any. In our third annual year, and exponential increase in attendees, we can honestly say there is a huge growing demand of people that had been left out of the fashion world. We needed to change that. We wanted to create a show that truly celebrates confidence, creativity, elegance, and beauty through modest designs.
4) What workshops specifically facilitate the importance of sisterhood and growing as a community?
I believe all of our workshops have a sisterhood component. But if I had to choose one, I would say our entrepreneurship focused workshops. When starting a business it’s important to know your skills, and what you can accomplish, but it’s also important to recognize when you need help, or when it might be beneficial for you to partner with other initiatives and talents. We like to really promote collaborations through this workshop that has a difference focus every year, but collaboration always remains as a constant reminder. What you can accomplish together can propel you even further.
5) What will be new this year?
We will be doing an exclusive Yacht Pre Party this year, giving girls an unforgettable one of a kind unique experience. For the festival we have amazing talents choosing to launch on the IMFDF platform. Really well thought out designs and value driven upcoming brands will be highlighted at the show. Thanks to Tuesday In Love, a Canadian cosmetic brand, our models will be getting ready backstage with products free of harsh chemicals. Every year we like to host influencers from outside Canada. These tend to be popular social media bloggers, and this year we have Habiba Da Silva from the UK.
6) How is IMFDF revolutionizing the fashion modest industry in North America?
I think we have really taken women’s fashion and brought it back to the women. The concept of harnessing our individual powers as consumers and driving an entire segment is really beginning to stir heads and turn attention to what we are doing. Globally, this market is expected to grow to $327 billion or more. Our platform highlights trendsetters and talented designers that are fueling this growth. By our increase in numbers and international attention, I think we’ve made it apparent that North America can be a leading contributor to the modest fashion segment at large.
7) Are you seeing the change the IMFDF is hoping create?
Absolutely. We have groups of women from all over the world reaching out to us, and they share with us that our story is giving them power in their own lands to counteract stigmas that covered means oppressed and submissive. They feel empowered to do more, and partner with other like-minded individuals, and take a stance that they don’t have to expose their bodies to display their true strengths and capabilities.
8) What would you like to see at future events?
As this show continues to inspire, we would like to see on the runway just how much we’ve influenced the future of fashion; possibly through a nationwide modest fashion contest for upcoming designers. We would love to see more mentorship from bigger names in the fashion industry.
We want to continue our entrepreneurship workshops that builds and highlights the important considerations when stepping into this world of business. I would like to see IMFDF grow to become an incubator for modest fashion, and continue to have a space where sisterhood and fashion meets daily.
If you’re interested in attending IMFDF, the event takes place in Toronto from August 14th-17th. More information can be found here, at www.imfdf.ca. Be sure to
stalk , oops, follow them on Instagram at @imfdfestival to see some of the stunning designs.