Modest fashion is having its moment.
Vanessa Friedman in The New York Times writes that “it began, as these things do, at least two years ago—The New York Times began chronicling young women on the streets of Brooklyn layering clothes in creative ways that shielded or swaddled their bodies back in 2015. But it is only now reaching critical mass, thanks to a convergence of social, political and cultural factors as reflected in clothing.”
Modest fashion is now not only trendy; it’s become big business. Monica Ainley and Fiona Scott at CNN.com call this new trend a “global cultural movement on the rise.” Lifestyle bloggers Sharon Langert (Fashion-isha), Adi Heyman (Fabologie) and Malky Weichbrod (My Therapist Told Me to Write a Fashion Blog) have become major fashion influencers to women of all faiths sharing their stylish take on modest dressing. This past February, London held its first-ever Modest Fashion Week.
I’m excited to bring you two of my favorite modest fashion designers—The Frock NYC and Mimu Maxi. These modern modest fashion mavens are incredibly talented, super stylish, and all around fabulous.
THE FROCK NYC
Sisters Simi Polonsky and Chaya Chanin are the design duo behind The Frock NYC. Born and raised in Australia, they share a unique fashion sense influenced by the easy-going surf culture of the beaches of Sydney and their upbringing in an Orthodox Jewish home.
When Chaya and Simi moved to Brooklyn, they began scouring boutiques and second-hand stores for clothes that fit the modesty standards of their faith and their own high-fashion tastes. Women from the Jewish community and beyond caught wind of their fashion style and encouraged the duo to share their unique taste with the world. In September 2010, the pair rented out a local florist to open their first pop-up consignment shop. They quickly built a loyal following of women looking to shop in a vibrant, social atmosphere. Today they are a multi-faceted fashion studio offering original garment designs (The Frock Basics), a unique pop-up consignment store (The Frock Swap), and styling services (The Frock Style).
Influenced by their experience as mothers, entrepreneurs, and fashion lovers, Chaya and Simi combine a relaxed, easy-to-wear vibe with a high-end aesthetic. Their designs are infused with personality, imbued with their shared spirituality, and inspired by the beautiful clothing they see on the streets of New York City.
Mimi Hecht and Mushky Notik met and became sisters-in-law in 2011 and immediately bonded over their love for oversized clothing. Having both experienced the struggle of finding well-made yet affordable clothing that fit their aesthetic, they joined forces to make the clothing they wanted to wear. With no fashion background, Mimi and Mushky launched MIMU MAXI, introducing frocks and smocks and cascading dresses that became the “go-to” clothing for their own Chassidic community and beyond. They built their brand on the spiritual depth of their ancestry as well as the requirements of Jewish law.
Mimi and Mushky’s pieces are dramatic yet down to earth. And although they always feature higher necklines, longer hemlines, and fuller sleeves to accommodate their dress-code, they view their “limitations” as an opportunity: to communicate who they are, to break boundaries, and to create more interesting designs.
There’s more! Check out The Modist, the first luxury modest ready-to-wear e-commerce site launched in March to much fanfare and Mod Li, a modest fashion marketplace that has become the go-to modest clothing resource for women around the world.