When Ami Yomekpe of MOD, formerly AfroMod Trends, reached out after reading my article on how to support Muslims observing Ramadan, I least expected it would result in Hidden Pearls – a full-blown modest style capsule and collaboration between herself, modest fashion stylist and blogger Shiella Yakubu, and Circumspecte. But that’s the thing about beautiful collaborations; they often come from the most unlikely pairings.
‘Hidden Pearls’: A Modest Collection & Collaboration
Contemporary Ghanaian womenswear brand MOD has always had a distinct take on fashion with its afro-fusion elements which exude luxury. Creative and consistent with each collection, embarking on the “Hidden Pearls” capsule collection was a challenge of sorts for CEO Ami Yomekpe. She wanted to show how some of MOD’s signature pieces could be styled modestly, thereby highlighting afro-fusion and remaining true to Islam’s modesty principles. A few WhatsApp messages between us, it was clear we would need a style expert in the mix. I had been following Ghanaian modest style influencer, blogger and stylist Shiella Yakubu on Instagram for a while and had explored collaborating on other projects. As it turns out, Shiella was also looking to work with more mainstream fashion brands in Ghana and had been admiring MOD’s work from afar. It would seem Hidden Pearls was a collection and collaboration destined to happen.
“My collaboration with Shiella has been amazing. She is a gorgeous model and it was so easy working with her. I am so grateful that she bought into the idea that I had and was happy to come on board. She’s also been looking for a fashion brand that would be willing to collaborate with a Muslim fashionista, and here we are.”Ami Yomekpe, MOD
Keeping in mind how delicate of an issue ‘hijab’ can be for many, it was particularly important that the collection and collaboration stay true to the essence of modest or hijabi fashion. From the set design, to the clothes, the modelling, the process of shooting, and even the narrative framing, everything was guided by a simple goal: to demonstrate the elegance and true beauty of modesty. As Ami highlights, it was also a learning process for all involved – a challenge to look at things from a different perspective and maintain respect for a different lifestyle: “It was quite interesting seeing how to re-work what we currently have to fit Muslim ladies…I have learned so much.” Capture some behind the scenes moments in the video below.
A Note on “Modesty” & Modest Fashion
The concept of modesty is strongly tied to Islam, and some would say, one of Islam’s most distinctive features. While many people link “modesty” to women wearing a hijab or headscarf, the concept of modesty in Islam is one which goes beyond one’s attire. Modesty is a state of being and a consciousness which influences how Muslims think, speak and act. It is a spiritual practice which teaches humility, striving to be decent and moderate in action, being respectful and recognising the dignity of all creatures, and giving due reverence to Allah. It is an invitation to look beyond appearances and instead, to recognise the intangible elements which make up our being: our spirit and soul.
Noteworthy is the fact that the Islamic principle of modesty is not restricted to women and girls. Muslim men and boys also have modesty requirements and are directed to “lower their gaze” – or to put it bluntly, stop staring – around women. Some call this ‘hijab of the eyes’. Then, there’s the partition in a mosque which designates the prayer sections for men and women. In this way, the meaning of “hijab” can be extended beyond headscarf to include a veil, a partition, regard for dignity."Modesty is a state of being – a consciousness which influences how Muslims think, speak, and act. It is an invitation to look beyond appearances and to recognise the intangible elements which make up our being." – @jabdulai Click To Tweet
So what is modest fashion? Well, it depends on who you ask. For some, it is considered Islamic dress. For others, it involves presenting oneself in a manner that goes beyond their physical appearance or attribute – a feeling or way of being. To modest fashion stylist Shiella Yakubu, “modest fashion is about dressing up, appearing chic and classy, yet not showing too much skin.” For me, modest fashion is about expressing how I feel, being comfortable in what I wear, all while staying true to my principles. In the context of the “Hidden Pearls” modest collection – it is an example of the possibilities borne through compassion for each other, regardless of how different we may consider the other to be. To Ami and everyone who took our call to support Muslims this Ramadan a step further, thank you."When you cover up a certain elegance comes from within and it shows the true beauty of a woman. I'm very glad we've been able to explore this other side of beauty." – Ami Yomekpe, MOD on #ModestFashion in #Ghana Click To Tweet
So, if you are on the lookout for an Eid outfit to celebrate the end of the Ramadan fast, or simply looking for some modest style inspiration and ideas for chic everyday wear, make sure you visit the MOD store or website for some Hidden Pearls. Eid Mubarak! Tell them Circumspecte sent you.
Hidden Pearls – A Modest Capsule Collection by MOD
This article was written by Jemila Abdulai and originally published by Circumspecte
Jemila Abdulai is the creative director, editor and founder of the award-winning website Circumspecte.com. A media and international development professional and economist by training, she combines her business, communications and project management expertise with her strong passion for Africa. Besides writing and reading, she enjoys travel, global cuisine, movies, and good design.