HOLLAND, Ohio — For Muslim and Arab women who want to dress modestly, shopping for clothes in Toledo has sometimes been a challenge.
After experiencing this challenge firsthand, Ruqayya Al-Sharari, decided to open
Hayat Modest Fashion Boutique a year ago to fill a void in the market.
“We would like to provide modest clothing for women who would just like to dress, you know, modestly," Al-Sharari said.
Al-Sharari became Muslim about 27 years ago and through her own journey, she noticed it was a struggle to find modest clothing. She knew she wasn’t alone.
“It was a struggle for me to find something to wear that I didn’t have to buy additional pieces to cover up or it wasn’t too revealing, she said. "So, I thought that there was a need in the community."
Throughout history, women have traditionally dressed more conservatively in Arab countries.
“Arabs are more conservative for many different reasons," said Gaby Semaan, a University of Toledo Arab cultures professor. "Religion might be one of them."
Semaan compared Muslim and Arab women who wear modest clothes as a cultural or religious expression to Christian nuns who also traditionally have worn modest attire as a personal religious expression. Many global cultures and religions are reflected in modest dress, he said.
"I would say traditionally there was more conservatism among the Arab world," Semaan said.
Al-Sharari said even if you’re not Arab or Muslim, she hopes that you stop by and take a look around at what her store has to offer.
“We encourage anyone to walk through the doors because we provide clothing and accessories for every woman you know, as well as Muslim women who are looking for clothing that they cannot find anywhere else in the community," Al-Sharari said.
Hayat Modest Fashion Boutique, 909 S. McCord Road, is open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and closed on Sunday.
Check out Hayat Modest Fashion Boutique on Instagram.