Cover Story
Prestige Hong Kong|October 2017

Ghizlan Guenez, founder and CEO of The Modist, a new luxury e-commerce platform dedicated to modest attire, explains her plan to reset notions of demure dressing to Zaneta Cheng.

Ghizlan Guenez would be the first to tell you that modesty is often boring, dull and dowdy: “Super-cool, trendy fashion is not the first thing that comes to mind,” she says. But she’s also on a mission to change that with her new e-commerce venture The Modist, launched globally in March this year.

Spurred by her lifelong frustration – and that of the women around her – with the dearth of sartorial options in retail that are at once fashionable and modest, the former private equity investor began building what has now been deemed the Net-a-Porter of modest fashion. Sole investor and CEO, Guenez is focusing her efforts on catering to this niche and in the process increase the visibility of modest fashion and to broaden its associations.

“The vision is to create a platform for the modest dresser that understands her needs entirely,” she says. “Often, the few propositions out there that have done modesty either do it with a religious direction or in a manner that doesn’t necessarily have a strong fashion point of view.”

Regardless of whether or not existing offerings are fashion-forward, however, it’s undeniable that Guenez has come into the market at an opportune time. According to a recent report on the global Islamic economy, total demand for modest dress is estimated to be worth US$327 billion by 2020. And though The Modist by no means caters solely to religious customers – its second-largest market is the United States, for which the data indicates that few shoppers make purchases from an Islamic perspective – the Muslim market is a veritable goldmine.

Just this year, Vogue Arabia launched its first print issue and London held its inaugural modest fashion week, while behemoths such as DKNY, Mango and Uniqlo – and even luxury brands like Dolce & Gabbana and Oscar de la Renta – are exploring modest options for the demographic.

Headquartered in Dubai and with a satellite office in London, The Modist has fused together a unique combination of modesty and fashion. Sasha Sarokin, its buyer and fashion director, laughs as she recalls her limited notion of the concept of modesty when first approached by Guenez in early 2016 to join the enterprise.

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM PRESTIGE HONG KONGView All

One Step Beyond

Dancer and actress JENNA DEWAN TATUM has built a career tripping the light fantastic. 

6 mins read
Prestige Hong Kong
May 2017

Crown and Glory

The “Forbidden City” plays host to an array of fine art and jewellery, and Chaumet’s aptly named Imperial Splendours exhibition.

4 mins read
Prestige Hong Kong
May 2017

Bright Young Things

After some serious time in the limelight, summer’s big make-up trend is finally putting brows in the shade.

1 min read
Prestige Hong Kong
May 2017

Fragrant Fancies

The nose behind the reinterpretation of three Bulgari fragrances, Sophie Labbe talks to ZANETA CHENG about the jewels of scent, floral absolutes and ageless femininity.

4 mins read
Prestige Hong Kong
May 2017

Reachable Recharge

The wellness effect of a stay at Amanoi, in a remote part of south-eastern Vietnam, begins before arrival.

3 mins read
Prestige Hong Kong
May 2017

Contemporary Inklings

With a mixed palette of traditional Chinese painting skills and avant-garde Western influences, octogenarian LIU KUO-SUNG, a leading force in modern ink art, reflects on his work with ANDREW DEMBINA.

6 mins read
Prestige Hong Kong
May 2017

French Lessons

STEPHEN MCCARTY discovers the dark side of jazz-era China.

4 mins read
Prestige Hong Kong
May 2017

Top of the Crops

It’s been a long time coming, but the health-food movement has finally hit Hong Kong’s fine-dining scene.

6 mins read
Prestige Hong Kong
May 2017

Modern History

Delvaux’s Hong Kong flagship store has just opened its gilded doors in Central. 

4 mins read
Prestige Hong Kong
July 2017

Double Act

Two designers, two brands, two worlds. Creative directors Laura Kim and Fernando Garcia tell Alice Franklin why taking the reins at Oscar de la Renta made sense as Monse, their new brand on the block, continues to impress

6 mins read
Prestige Hong Kong
July 2017