Follow Vogue Arabia

How Modest Fashion Enthusiasts are Putting Their Stamp on Barbiecore

From bloggers to brands, the Barbiecore aesthetic is taking the modest fashion world by storm.

Vogue Arabia, February 2019. Photo: Domen/van de Velde

“May Allah give you Barbie marketing budget kind of money,” is a tweet that has gone viral on Twitter over the past few days, referencing the global hype that’s surrounding the release of the new Warner Brothers Barbie movie. The quote has also been reposted numerous times on Instagram, where my feed is currently a never-ending column of peppy pink photos.

Fashion brands from Zara to Birkenstock have all jumped on the Barbie bandwagon with exclusive Barbie fashion collaborations, and #Barbiecore has emerged as a trending style aesthetic for the summer.

The modest fashion world is putting its own stamp on the trend. Countless Muslim influencers across the globe have been posting TikToks and makeup tutorials while swathed in hot pink and emanating an unmistakable tone of Barbie-esque enthusiasm – such as Haute Hijab CEO, Melanie Elturk:


View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Haute Hijab (@hautehijab)

Designers specializing in conservative-chic clothing are also pushing their fuchsia and bubblegum-hued designs to the fore, such as London-based modest wear brand, Daska. The hot pink Mira dress from its spring/summer 2023 collection has been worn by hijabi style bloggers Yasmin Basi and Rae Muhebi, and was even featured in this Barbie-themed TikTok by Basma Kahie:


Barbie inspired outfits 💕 🎀

♬ Barbie World (with Aqua) [From Barbie The Album] – Nicki Minaj & Ice Spice & Aqua

“Barbie gives the modest girl the confidence to break boundaries and wear those bright colors, elaborate styles, and fun prints,” says founder of DASKA Maryam Khan, attributing the success of this aesthetic to the ideals it embodies.

The pink treatment is even making its mark on cultural clothing such as abayas. The Abaya Lab, based in Dubai, created a collection of Barbiecore abayas featuring embroidered hearts, ombre effects, and metallic sheens, all in a spectrum of pinks:

Modest fashion influencers have proven their knack for adapting mainstream style trends to fit their own modesty guidelines. From crop tops, corsets, and sleeveless sweater vests to bucket hats, bandanas, and barrette clips, we’ve seen hijabi women use layering techniques to incorporate practically any sort of garment into their wardrobes.

Experimentation, after all, is a hallmark of the modest fashion movement. Just see how Australian hijabi designer and influencer Yasmin Jamaleddine interpreted Barbiecore, topping off her headscarf with a beret – likely inspired by a scene from the new movie:


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Yasmin Jamaleddine (@yasssminjay)

A pearl-embellished beret was also the finishing touch for  American hijabi model Leah Vernon’s Barbiecore outfit, making it clear that this aesthetic is one that is both borderless and inclusive. Yet Vernon, who is the author of Unashamed: Musings of a Fat, Black Muslim, also used her post to discuss how Barbie has not traditionally been a very inclusive brand. She stated that the doll – and the movie cast – are typically skinny, and are not known to celebrate diverse body shapes:


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Leah V (@lvernon2000)

Despite how they may feel about Barbie, the fashion aesthetic has clearly enraptured modest dressers the world over – and evidently, has been for some time now. Cairo-based content creator Mayar Ghoniem has been posting “hijabi Barbie” looks for over a year, and even filmed a trend analysis dissecting the #Barbiecore aesthetic:

Come to think of it, my own book about the global rise of the modest fashion movement,  Modesty: A Fashion Paradox, which was published in 2020, is also dressed with a cover that conveys Barbiecore. It stars hijabi model Mariah Idrissi decked out in a hot pink suit, which by today’s sartorial standards, fits right in with this trending aesthetic.

Modesty: A Fashion Paradox by Hafsa Lodi

Proponents of dressing conservatively claim that it is a lifestyle, not a fleeting trend, and it appears that this long-enduring Barbiecore style will continue to inspire modest fashion enthusiasts – probably far longer than Zara’s Barbie collaboration will last on the racks.

Read Next: 10 Barbiecore Beauty Favorites That Will Have You Looking (And Feeling) Pretty in Pink

View All
Vogue Collection