The Tale of the Two Moro Nations

Traversing Culture: Moro x Morocco

by Jonquil Dun

Inaul ensembles by Hers Laha; Moro x Morocco

Unbeknownst to many, the word “Moro” is not just a sobriquet that historians and the native tongue agree to call the Muslim people living in Mindanao. It has a far deeper meaning than that. It came a long way from the Iberian Peninsula before it reached the Philippines with its conquistadors in the 1500s. Moro was what the Spaniards call people inhabiting the northern part of Africa- part of which belongs to what now we call the country of “Morocco”.

The nomenclature may have just come along Magellan’s failed expedition, but the culture had been traversing from the Moros of Africa to the inhabitants of the Philippines centuries before they even set foot at one of the 7,000 islands. To note, many inhabitants have embraced Islam since the early 1300s through trade. Therefore, there was already a barter of cultures long before the name Moro was coined in them. Not only that these two nations share the same religion, but they do also have an equal affinity toward indigenous arts which are demonstrated in fashion, specifically in textiles that are still evident today.

Fast forward to many centuries later, in August 2022, Asia TV Studios and Africa TV Studios re-introduced this bond by organizing an event bringing the Philippines’ Moro designer Azizah Talusan to exhibit the pride of her people- the novel textiles in the region. Azizah showcased her brand’s signature Inaul ensembles that she incorporated with modern cuts and silhouettes. Her brand, Hers Laha, is the first luxury abaya in the Philippines which she established in her college days.

The show featured a collection from a home-grown Moroccan brand, Faidys, which showcased incredible pieces made from repurposed discarded textiles. The 3-day event also featured other Moroccan designers such as Yass Brand, which showcased a stylish kimono abaya collection and private collections from Zineb Joundy x Baby Miranda in a fashion show.

Regine Guevarra of Asia TV (Middle with hat) and Azizah Talusan (2nd from left) during the viewing and sampling of Philippine textiles

It was supported by prestigious organizations such as the Philippine Embassy, Duty-Free Morocco, and Rotary International, and was held on the sidelines of Modest Fashion Council’s Togethere Summit. The event successfully demonstrated a shared culture and love for indigenous textiles. Hers Laha introduced Inaul and Langkit textiles that the ancestors of her people invented. The arabesque motifs are quite familiarly engraved in the infrastructures and patterns of the Filipino Moro people.

Moro x Morocco symbolized the relationship of the two nations who have witnessed history in different timeframes. To note, Morocco still produced one of UNESCO’s heritage arts that were featured in the fashion giants’ runways such as Dior in 2018. There are notable Moroccan fabrics that are still on the loom in distant villages and preserved in their culture.

Photo by Kelly on Pexels.com

“Woman to Woman”, the show was aptly called, reminds us of the hands of those who have preserved the cultures that evident in woven textiles in their respective regions, in the garbs that symbolize our identities. All these tales lie on every calloused hands, wearied eyes, loving heart of womankind, who with love and passion handed a legacy from generation to generation, from woman to woman. It was a dialogue, an introduction, a re-affirmation that these two nations silently communicated for ages.

The event has culminated but it will not end there. It was only the beginning to bring distance closer and make the Moro culture traverse beyond geography, language, and religion.

Hottest Modest Urban Styles Right Now

Are you tired of the same silhouette you wear every time? Maybe it’s about time to reshuffle and add more variety to your garment choices. We have prepared a list of the stylish, preppiest, and gorgeous modest urban-style dresses that you can start adding to your cart now. They are big on style but easy on the budget.

Women Long Sleeve Casual Loose Check Patchwork Maxi Dress

Sustainable and Hip

This piece is from Zanzea. This brand has become the favorite of modest fashion fans recently because of its trendy designs that are easy on the budget. Their material and output quality are excellent too.

This dress is a combination of cotton-linen material and is available from Small to 4XL size. It has a nice drape detail on the front with a huge pocket on both sides. It has a roll-over sleeves that you can adjust according to the length you prefer.

Purchase PRODUCT HERE

Comfy Origami

The feature of this dress is centered on the the sleeves which bears the origami detailing and goes flawlessly into a lantern shape towards the wrist. If you like a modern minimalist style without being too boring, this dress is the one you are looking for.

The dress has a button detail with a ruched slightly curved waist. It is so baggy that feels so airy and comfortable. It is perfect for this hot weather because it is made cotton.

Purchase PRODUCT HERE

Boho Chic

What we love about this dress is its comfortable and easy style. You can wear it as is or pair it with jeans. Or wear it over your favorite catsuit. The style is so versatile. You can add a belt to make it more dressy, if you wish.

The material also plays an important factor. It is those type of material that flows and is very light on the body. We like the hoodie accent too. And it has pockets.

Purchase PRODUCT HERE.

Puffy Doll

This dress is simple yet elegant. If you know how to style it, you will hit a jackpot owning this dress. The style is versatile and can be worn in a casual setting or corporate affair. If you wear a nice slim belt with it, paired with accessories, then you are ready for a formal event. Wear it as-is with a straw hat, for casual days and look elegant.

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Assymetric Beauty

If you are worried about your extra handles and pounds, this dress will create a leaner silhouette for you. The slender cut, spliced detail and the slits on the side with buttons do magic. They create an illusion of a straigh line.

The material is comfortable too. It may be hotter on summer days, but if you are okay with polyester, this dress is worth it. It’s not thick and warm like a knitted. It is actually thinner, so don’t worry.

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Faux Denim

Striped button-down maxi dress that looks like stonewashed denim but is lightweight and comfortable. It has a ruched sweetheart detail and a lovely relaxed fit that you wouldn’t need to worry about it hugging your curves. Plus side pockets too. Pair it with your fave leggings or denim or wear it as a cloak.

Purchase PRODUCT HERE.

Forever Young

Yup, it’s one of those dresses that will remind you of your teens. It is so versatile that you can wear it on top of something, plain or colorful. Or wear it underneath a cropped jacket or a cardigan. You can style with some colorful scarf or ruffle neckties. It is roomy and the materials are so comfy that you wouldn’t feel the heat of the season.

Purchase PRODUCT HERE

Simple Yet Elegant

A timeless dress design- no-frills, just straightforward elegance. This dress has that “feels”. You can wear it to a corporate party, or to a mid-day date with your bestie, wear it to shopping or to a stroll on the beach. All you need is the perfect accesorries to go with.

The dress has a slimming effect because of its slim silhouette and the vertical cut in the middle. The sleeves can be worn full length or rolled up depending on the occasion. So if you are looking for one that will make you look half your size, this is definitely the style.

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Mellow Hi-Low

This dress is super cute! It has more than one detail. A drop ruched neckline, lantern sleeves, and a high-low hemline that reminisces the Am-boy style of the 80’s. On top of that, it has multiple pleats accent near the hems. It is a comfy style that you can wear with a legging or jeans. Wear it with high heels to elevate the style.

Purchase PRODUCT HERE

Over Comfy-Tent

If you are looking for a comfortable style that you can take anywhere, especially during hot seasons, a tent dress is a must-pick. It provides you that comfort because it’s airy, like this dress. It is made of comfortable material that let’s airflow. It has wide long sleeves that can be adjusted to your preferred length.

The neck has a tassel-end tie accent that you can lace together so you’ll get a rounded neckline and a dangling tassel down. Or let loose to get that V-neck look. Of course, you can elevate the style with your favorite accessory or wear it on top of a U-tard to get a layered look.

Purchase PRODUCT HERE

Which one is your fav? I’m sure you picked one already. Make sure you tune in to our social media accounts to get news of the latest Style Tips.

Before Neverfull, There Exists the Gladstone

by Jonquil Dun

If you are in the medical profession, or a bag collector, you would know right away what a Gladstone bag is, and the sassiest of us would dive into luxury shops in order to find one because the pre-owned of this item is just as valuable as your trace of genealogy.

Its physical attributes are also enticing; a lightweight body with a large opening with plenty of room for your necessities. The millennial and Gen-Z generation may call it a different name so as to disassociate it from the trendsetter’s grim history, however, the Gladstone nomenclature still lives on; especially among the bag collectors around the world.

The first design came about in the 1800s in Britain by J. G. Beard who named it after Prime Minister William Gladstone and was later patented in 1854 by Cole Brothers. The functional features, large opening and sturdy base made this bag design a staple for nurses, doctors, lawyers, politicians, and businessmen; from the most affluent of men to the weariest of travelers and craftsmen; with styles evolving at the turn of every century.

Perhaps, the Gladstone is a living monument of our modern history. It has witnessed the worst and the best part. If it can talk, it would have told us how we endured the epoch of times. Imagine how many men would have carried one aboard the Titanic, or dragged along the middle of the fields amidst crossfires between the Allied and Axis forces to nurse the wounded, or sat on the side of a diplomat on the negotiating table.

Nowadays, as fashion and lifestyle evolve, so has the engineering of the Gladstone, and even the name. We call it a satchel, travel, or more specifically a doctor’s bag. Bag makers have adopted new designs to fit the current social atmosphere. Some styles are made of laminated canvasses instead of leather. Others eliminated the slender metal frame at the opening, while some made it smaller. Nevertheless, the functiona features and the ample space are still intact.

Whatever we call it nowadays, it is still one of the most highly-priced collector’s items coveted by bag aficionados anywhere in the world. You can buy a satchel from $1,000 to a whopping $180,000 from the giant brands; with manufacturing dates would goes back to as far as the mid-1900s. But one of the reasons why this bag design deserves a space in the closet is because of its utility. The versatile classic look that will never go out of style, is a plus. It’s the vintage, or let’s put it in a more apt way- the mother of the Neverfulls.

After knowing the back story of such a token of our history, you’d want to check one in the market. Online bag curators like  www.luxurycheaper.com had the most- quality and highly curated bags out there. Their quality is exceptional because each piece on their website is authenticated and meticulously checked. You will never regret owning that one bag you had your eyes on.

Fulfilling Destiny

For years, I have been trying hard to pursue a different career and took designing only as a temporary station never realizing that it was actually what I was destined for. I did not imagine myself working as a fashion designer for all my life but I ended up working from one design field to another because I enjoy learning and understanding the art and business of designing along the way. But when I come to think of it, how I became I designer was unexpected. And then my business mentor opened my eyes to the fact that I was an entrepreneur all along. After that long process, I have to accept now that this is my destiny.”

A self- taught artist, Iman’s prowess in the arts of illustration was observed by a classmate (from the Computer School) whose aunt is a fashion designer and owns a fashion house in New York. Initially hired as an illustrator, the company saw her potentials in fashion designing, so she was trained to become a fashion designer and with the help of books, actual workshop and mentorship, Iman was able to grasp the business and art of fashion in no time.

“I was of fond drawing/sketching since I was a kid, although I never had a formal training but I found the job easy. I enjoyed the learning process the most. For me designing is not just an art, its also science. Actually, it involves a lot of analysis, like how material works for a certain structure/ silhouette, what mould would fit perfectly for a body type, balancing elements and textures, studying and understanding how the customer feels and their psychology; aside from the joy of seeing the development of a product, is what interests me more than drawing designs.”

Read about this inspiring story about resilience, hope and fulfilling one’s destiny, here

The Return of the Hanfu

Why mentioning the Hanfu revival is important in modest fashion revolution?

Because Hanfu is modest. It echoes that of the modest fashion revolution. The concept behind the style goes beyond cultural and historical significance. It is about modesty. The style resembles that of the Kaftan and abaya equivalent, and if worn with weimao and mili, the look is not far from burqa and niqab. This gives the modest fashion industry more alternative style and inspiration from other culture such as this.

Read full story here

https://modestfashiondesigners.com/the-return-of-the-hanfu/

IN PURSUIT OF THE ARTS; A DESIGNER’S JOURNEY FROM I.T. TO BECOME SOUTH AFRICA’S FASHION BRAND

Shiaam Abrahams love for the arts growing up had never left her heart even when she already made a succesful career as an I.T. Specialist and Business Analyst, certified internationally. She came back to her first love and now fully dedicating herself to become a modest fashion brand called Modesty On Blvd that will introduce African fashion to the world.

Read full:

https://modestfashiondesigners.com/in-pursuit-of-the-arts-a-designers-journey-from-i-t-to-become-south-africas-fashion-brand/

Fatima; Fashionista Nurse from Zamboanga

photo by Fatima

A nurse by profession, this Zamboanga (Philippines) native is taking baby steps into fulfilling her love of fashion since she was 5 years old.

Fatima Zyra Mannan is a modest fashion enthusiast. She owns a clothing shop called Urban Modesty Ph which sells modern but modest dresses online. She vowed that she would fulfil her dreams to become a fashion designer one day and is on the way to start studying fashion design in Indonesia once the pandemic restrictions eases.

She admits that she felt blessed having to witness the change of attitude of the fashion world towards modest fashion. It allows modest women to have more variety of styles to wear and wearing modest outfits in public is becoming common and fashionable thing compared to the decade that past where modesty, especially hijab, was frowned upon.

Fatima shows off her brands’ fashionable dresses on social media to encourage girls to have more courage to wear hijab and modern style while staying modest.

She is inclined to fashion influencers like Neelofa, Vivy Yusof, Sharifahrose as among some of her favorites. The girlish styles, daily casuals look is a style that she is more drawn into.

She hopes that the local brands and designers will slowly adapt to the modest fashion movement elsewhere.

“Local brands have at least made the effort to add up modest clothings in their monthly collection but I still can say not all, but few. And smalls steps like that in a Christian- dominated country helps.. love how open minded this local brands especially the designers. I am yearning for more in the coming years”

The success and growing acceptance of modest fashion would not have been possible if not because of influencers like Fatima. Their courageous efforts and diligence despite being criticized by conservatives from their own had made it easy for majority of modest women everywhere freedom to embrace their true identity.