Modest fashion for the Muslim population is a growing market that’s seen power players like Tommy Hilfiger, H&M, Nike and Macy’s angle for a piece of the piece. One emerging brand wants to be the direct-to-consumer destination for hijab-wearing women worldwide and raised $2.3 million in seed funding to make that goal a reality.
Haute Hijab claims to be the leading hijab brand in the U.S., one that’s solving a problem for millions of Muslim women around the globe. Many women who cover their heads purchase “commodity-quality” hijabs from “informal” retailers, Haute Hijab claims, or “retrofit” scarves they find at fast-fashion sellers. They somehow make it work—often without a purpose-built, thoughtfully crafted product designed both to empower and to integrate seamlessly with their lives.
With Haute Hijab, co-founder, CEO and formal civil rights attorney Melanie Elturk wants to put her two decades of hijab sourcing, styling and selling experience to work elevating the humble headwrap to fashion status with the CX-centric direct-to-consumer treatment. Ahmed Zedan, co-founder and COO, brings to the table 10 years of performance marketing prowess and three stints at venture capital firms. The husband-and-wife duo founded the business in 2010.
Grandview Research estimated the global Islamic clothing market size at $59.7 billion in 2017, and it’s set to increase at a combined annual growth rate of 5 percent from 2018 through 2025. Hijabs and abayas, the overpiece-style garment commonly worn in modest fashion, constitute roughly a quarter of the Muslim world’s projected spending on fashion, the research firm added.
Haute Hijab products range from everyday to glamorous, crystal-embellished luxury hijabs that max out at $325. Customers can choose from jersey, modal, silk, georgette, satin and viscose in an array of solids and prints. New styles drop every Tuesday.
The brand worked with fabric scientists at Pyratex to create an exclusive textile made from bamboo fiber that is said to improve skin’s breathability, offer protection from the sun’s harmful rays, contain anti-bacterial properties to prevent against acne and other breakouts, and give wearers a cooling effect. Haute Hijab crafts its underscarves, priced from $25 to $50, from the proprietary material.
Cue Ball led the seed funding round, which included participation from Ludlow Ventures, Sinai Ventures, Maveron, Muse Capital, AngelList, and The Helm. Haute Hijab plans to use the investment to fuel growth and extend its reach worldwide.
“From performance hijabs to sustainable innovations, we’re obsessed with fusing design, style and technology into the perfect hijabs for every occasion in a Muslim woman’s life,” the brand’s website says.