Amid the glamour and elegance of the catwalks at Modanisa Istanbul Modest Fashion Week shows on Saturday, April 20, there was a collection that stood out from the rest. One look from the Mayovera show featured a pair of monochrome houndstooth-printed trousers with a subtle pop of yellow, paired with a high-neck black tunic. Upon closer inspection, it became clear that this outfit was crafted completely from swim material – and was in fact a modest swimsuit.
The standard burkini may be practical and functional, but for Turkish designer Ayca Makbule Ture, founder of Mayovera, it simply wasn’t satisfying a market of Muslim women who seek to look chic and sleek while enjoying the beach and pool. “Your swimwear looks like clothing,” I tell her after her runway show. “Everybody says that,” she replies through a translator.
She says that when she launched Mayovera in 2015, there was a clear gap in the modest swimwear market. The long tunic-and-leggings ensembles, which have come to be known as burkinis, were predominantly plain black or navy blue. “Women prefer detailed clothes not plain clothes, so why not on the beach, too?” she says. The designer pours as much into her swimwear creations as one would on a clothing line – ruched sleeves, ruffles, colour-blocking and a variety of splashy prints feature in her latest collection.
Modest fashion weeks reveal over and over again that modesty is a spectrum, and women interpret modesty in their own ways, based on their personal views and religious beliefs. Understanding this wide range of style preferences, Mayovera offers two coverage options – hijab-friendly swimwear that cover from the neck to the ankle, as well as what the designer calls “half-covered” pieces, which include one-piece swimsuits with attached skirts, and surf-inspired rash guards decorated with embellishments, such as pearls.
Mayovera is based in Turkey and sells online at Modanisa.com, which offers shipping across the GCC.