by Ayesha Shaikh
  • 3 minute read
  • April 06, 2020
You’ll Be Missed, The Modist: Here Are 3 Milestones The Luxury E-tailer Achieved Before Signing Off

In the never-ending retail arms race, it’s hard to create an e-commerce empire and even harder to position it as a pioneer on the global fashion map. The Modist did both and much more; as a female-founded luxury fashion e-tailer, launched by the visionary Ghizlan Guenez on International Women’s Day in 2017, it sparked conversation on a new genre of fashion, one that’s fresh, inclusive and resonates with women everywhere.

And so, when its founder and CEO Ghizlan recently announced that The Modist will be closing its virtual doors in the wake of the global COVID-19 crisis and the major economic blow it has lent, the fashion community felt its ripples. “It’s a heavy day and I am sad to share that the brand and business, The Modist, that we built with so much passion, hard work and perseverance is closing its virtual doors today,” she said.

Ghizlan Guenez, founder and CEO of The Modist

“Unfortunately, whilst our plans and position were quite different only weeks ago, the global pandemic crisis that hit the world shifted our position entirely and rendered our young business very vulnerable, which left us with no choice but to cease operating and close down,” she added.

But for us at Villa 88, the sun never sets on a business with a purpose, the kind that pushes boundaries and changes mindsets. As they say, legacy is not leaving something for people, but leaving something in people, and The Modist has done just that. It’ll live on in our hearts as a messenger that reminded the world that modest isn’t just a form of apparel, but a lifestyle.

As a small token of the gratitude we feel for The Modist, we’ve rounded up 5 milestones that this young business earned over the last three years.

Globalized modest fashion

Founded on International Women’s Day (8 March 2017), The Modist emerged to the fore as the fashion equivalent of the democratic dictum, quickly becoming known as the brand that’s of women, by women and for women. The Dubai-based company aimed at filling the gap in the high-end modesty-wear market and made its foray with 75 brands, including Mary Katrantzou, Peter Pilotto, Marni, Alberta Ferretti and Emilia Wickstead.

The Modist’s third anniversary ‘Breaking Three’ campaign with artist Aicha Zarrouk

The idea was to curate collections that prioritized length of sleeves, necklines and opacity – all considerations for many women around the world, for office and everyday wear. Soon, it began rolling out Ramadan edits with brands, including Roksanda, Bouguessa and Bonnie Young. And before we knew it, its reach and client base had extended the world over, with its top five locations being the UAE, US, UK, Saudi Arabia, Canada and even the Sahara Desert. All this simply because The Modist recognized what women want.

Launched an in-house fashion brand

Just over a year after it launched, The Modist debuted its first in-house brand, Layeur. It built upon the e-tail platform’s existing product offerings and focused on styles that could be mixed-and-matched with other pieces on the website. It was a superb step-ahead in The Modist’s efforts towards redefining what modest dressing means.

Layeur from The Modist’s Ramadan 2019 edit 

With Layeur, the brand ensured that the consumers’ expectations are met, not just in terms of length and opacity but also with reference to sizes, as it made sizes 2 to 20 available, recognizing and revering its diverse client base.

Hosted a coveted European pop-up

Last year, The Modist hosted a summer pop-up at Bicester Village, the UK’s most popular outlet shopping destination. Running from 12 August to 24 September, the pop-up offered creations from its own brand, Layeur, and others listed on the site.

“Ghizlan Guenez’s game-changing vision has captured and catered to a generation of women globally who embrace the elegance of modest fashion,” Desiree Bollier, Chair and Chief Merchant, Value Retail Management, operator of The Bicester Village Shopping Collection, had said in a release.

The pop-up shop attracted smart tastemakers, who were able to book exclusive consultation sessions with a personal shopping team that helped them experiment with their personal style. Visitors also got the chance to earn Skywards miles when making a purchase, with guests getting  one mile for every pound spent.

Next In