Made in Minnesota

Empowering Women through Modesty

Mode-sty brings affordable modest clothing to the fashion community

By Anne Kopas

For some designers, less is more. The exact opposite is true of Mode-sty, a fashion company that sells women’s clothing with a focus on modesty — high necklines, low hemlines and sleeves — rare in mainstream modern styles.

Mode-sty’s CEO and co-founder, Zahra Aljabri, found her inspiration from the success of online-only clothing companies such as Modcloth. She was frustrated with the offerings available to women who wanted to show a little less skin, and she knew she wasn’t alone. As Mode-sty’s website asks, “Why is it easy to find a Kardashian outfit, but hard to find a Kate Middleton one?” Aljabri notes that religious women in particular “really wanted to be part of the fashion community, but had to jump through a lot more hurdles to achieve those looks.” After hearing stories of women buying two of the same dress, then cutting one up to add more material to the other, Aljabri decided that she’d had enough.

Mode-sty was founded in Minneapolis in late 2012 as an online store that carries external brands as well as its own fashion label. Aljabri says it’s for women who say, “I want just that same dress, but instead of making it backless, put the back on.”

For Aljabri, modesty is about more than being covered up for a job interview or religious service. “It’s a choice about who and when people get to see our bodies,” she says. “It’s taking control and taking ownership of what’s exposed and what isn’t. That can bring a sense of power. It’s not just on the whims of fashion trends.”

Moving forward, Aljabri plans to expand Mode-sty to include a wider range of styles, including more name-brand collections. Her primary goal is simple: to show that modesty and fashion don’t have to be mutually exclusive.