According to Muslim religious beliefs, “women must dress modestly and draw their veils over their bodies” (Quran 24:30-31). That however, doesn’t mean that a devout Muslim and adhering to religious suggestions cannot look fashionable. So what happens in a country of a population of 248 million and when 85 per cent of them are Muslims?
Unique combination of fashion and faith
Well, the answer is a unique combination of fashion and faith. and when the fashion world caters to religious demands, the result is nothing short of a big boom. The Muslim fashion industry in Indonesia is gaining a lot of traction, and this has led to the quintessential rise of the same in the e-commerce space too.
Saqina came up as an on-ground store catering to Muslim female fashion in a small town in East Java, in Indonesia, ten years ago. It was one of the first to see an opportunity in Muslim fashion and extend its offering online in 2008.
“A lot of people want to adhere to religious instructions, but at the same time they want to look chic,” says Mohamad Rosihan, CEO and Founder of Saqina.com, adding, “Today, there are more and more Muslim women wearing Muslim fashion. In recent years, we have observed a rise in Indonesian women who don the hijab (headscarf).”
Investors are equally interested Andi S Boediman, Director, Ideosource, an incubator and venture capital in Indonesia, echoes Lestari’s words as he suggests, “Indonesia can lead in export and become the Muslim fashion capital of the world.”
Lestari shares that HijUp attracts a big chunk of clientele from these communities. HijUp, derived from ‘hijab up’, claims to have 7,000 daily visitors, with 95 brands showcasing and average transaction of 100 per day. It claims its customers have grown two-fold since its launch in 2011. That’s just the tip of the iceberg considering Indonesia’s internet and e-commerce penetration currently.
Why should men be left out?
Interestingly, Zalora Indonesia also recently ventured into the space. And Zalora doesn’t just caters to Muslim female fashion. It has a wide range of apparels targeting the men too.
For that matter, Tsiyaby.com, another online apparel store, just caters to the Muslim men. Tsiyaby has products that provide a personal meaning to its wearers. According to Gaos Firdaus, Director of Tsiyaby.com, the website is trying to cater a “unique product” in “an overcrowded fashion industry in Bandung.”
Firdaus admits that though men are not as heavy spender as women, but Tsiyaby has managed to develop a niche and targeted market. “With our concept of limited edition, we gain a certain attention from our customer and we are growing well,” says Firdaus.
Eat, Pray, Tweet So how are these websites reaching out to the customer? Social media is very popular in Indonesia; in fact, an article in The Economist describes the phenomenon as Eat, Pray, Tweet (derived from the popular movie title Eat, Pray, Love).
So it goes without saying that players in the e-commerce space must know how to engage customers via social media. Not only does social media help attract new clients, it is also responsible for setting fashion trends in Indonesia.
Lestari shares that HijUp is aggressively pursuing social media marketing. “There is a huge number of social media users in Indonesia. This is a great opportunity for us. We have presence on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Youtube that we nurture everyday. We also have our own blog. Subsequently, our visitors are growing; people are becoming even more aware of our brand,” she says.
So what are you wearing tomorrow?
HijUp.com is the world’s first Islamic fashion e-commerce established in 2011. With an online mall concept, they provide a wide range of products.
Undisclosed Seed Investors:
Fenox Venture Capital500 Startups
Tsiyaby is a Muslim distro from Bandung that has family segment and dedicated to make an Islamic-themed products.