The first modest wear boutique opens its doors in a mainstream American shopping mall.
The Orlando Fashion Square mall in Florida is now home to America's first modest wear retail store named Verona Collection.
Owned by Lisa Vogl and business partner Nadine Abu-Jubara, Verona Collection started off as an online boutique store with only a few modest wear clothing items. Later in the year, they were shipping to various locations around the world.
Vogl is a convert to Islam and ventured into the modest wear market without any formal training in fashion design and had only a handful of items to start the online store. The business became so successful that when the retail store opened in May some of her online customers made special arrangements to attend the launch.
"Many of our existing online customers have made it to our store, both from the Orlando area and from out of state," says Abu-Jubara.
"We had one customer from North Carolina change her travel arrangements in order to attend our Grand Opening. Other customers have been on vacation in Orlando and made it a point to stop in and shop at the Verona store as well," she continues.
For Muslim women who choose to dress in accordance with the dictates of Islam, purchasing clothing from a mainstream shopping mall would usually mean buying more than two items at a time, which can be expensive. The opening of a modest wear store in a mall has therefore made modest wear accessible and very convenient for many.
"It's so incredibly difficult as a Muslim woman to be able to dress according to our religion and stay fashionable without breaking the bank," says Vogl.
"We wanted to launch Verona retail to not only solve these problems but give our customers a chance to feel the products first hand. We're an affordable and trendy modest clothing brand," she adds.
Not only are they catering for the Muslim community, but for those who dress conservatively as well.
"Many non-Muslims have both visited and purchased from Verona Collection. Many came in to congratulate us as well. Most of them ask us about hijab and why we wear it and are very supportive and encouraging," says Abu-Jubara.
The boom in the modest fashion industry is due to the fact that a new generation of fashion designers are combining mainstream fashion trends with Islamic guidelines.
The Verona Collection is just one of many examples. The online store opened a year and a half ago serving thousands of customers from around the world. Items include casual and formal dresses, activewear for the busy mother or those who love to exercise, as well as long length tops. With the launch of the retail store the brand is only getting bigger.
"We've opened a European and US [shipping] division and have plans for our second retail store. Fortune magazine claims that Muslim fashion is the next big untapped market. I believe very soon we'll be seen as mainstream," Vogl says.