Meet SABIRAH: The Brand Pioneering Modest Fashion
Modest fashion has always been an intrinsic part of many cultures and religions, however, before the 2000’s there were very limited options for the types and styles of clothing you could opt for. Thus, its rise commercially, provided endless opportunity for those who wished to dress modestly, but also stylishly. With its base market being those of muslim faith, of whom makeup 1.8 billion of the population, this was an egregious oversight from the fashion industry.
Since its entrance into the mainstream, it has garnered interest from people from all backgrounds, transcending the boundaries of audience type. As such the valuation of the modest fashion industry is expected to increase to $311 billion by the year 2024, as reported by the State of the Global Islamic Economy Report in 2020/21.
SABIRAH, which sits firmly amongst this burgeoning market, was founded by Deborah Latouche and was created from her own experiences, lacking in options when it came to modest dressing. Their commitment to sustainability, tailoring, and design has earned them a loyal following, making her a major player amongst brands of its kind. “The majority of my clients are not modest dressers, they just love the pieces”, explains Latouche. Whether it’s a simple blouse or an intricate evening gown, SABIRAH’s clothing is designed to flatter and empower women of all ages and backgrounds, with a focus on elegant design and tailoring.
Here, we speak to Latouche about the inspirations behind the brand and some of her favourite collections.
Can you tell us about the inspiration behind the creation of SABIRAH?
SABIRAH was created due to my needs as a Muslim woman working in the fashion industry. I wanted to wear clothes that were high fashion, well made and met my modest requirements. I knew that there were other womxn who felt the same as me.
Every piece is designed with the elevation of womxn at the forefront of the design – wanting womxn to feel beautiful, regal, classy and sophisticated. I really do believe if your design intention is to elevate or empower when the pieces are worn the womxn can feel it!
Although the collections are created with modest dressers at the forefront I want SABIRAH to appeal to everyone and it does – the pieces make a statement and ooze personality. The majority of my clients are not modest dressers, they just love the pieces.
Can you tell us more about SABIRAH’S philosophy of responsible and sustainable production?
Everything is lovingly made in the UK by individual seamstresses, All are paid well above minimum wage, we are made to order, so there are no excess pieces made that could potentially end up in landfill and made to measure so each piece fits your perfectly. We create heirlooms that will be passed down through the generations.
And you use end-of-roll luxurious fabrics to create exclusive pieces?
Yes, the majority of our fabrics are sourced from high-end mills in Italy and French Couture houses – we buy their excess fabrics and create stunning pieces with them.
Can you tell us about your journey from graduating from London College of Fashion to founding SABIRAH?
Oh that’s a long journey but will try to tell it the best I can – after graduation I secured a place at FABRICA in Italy the Benetton funded artists residency, I was there for a year exploring what it is to be a creative and then I moved to Milan for 3 years where I really explored my creativity in the world of fashion. Over the years I have worked in so many areas of fashion, from design, to styling, journalism and print design – I have pretty much throughout my career been a creative polymath trying and exploring new things, I enjoy learning new things.
What was the inspiration behind some of your collections such as Collection 1.3 which was inspired by the lost portraits of black Victorians?
That was a very special collection for me. Once I came across these lost images of black Victorians, images that were unearthed (in 2014), after over a hundred years in the Hulton archive by curator Renée Mussai and director of Autograph ABP, Mark Sealy MBE. I started imagining these women of colour flourishing in today’s world and wanted to recreate the fine clothing of that age while retaining the distinct SABIRAH brand. The film for this collection was created at Somerset House as was the imagery, all very regal and special.