Underwraps: Muslim model agency founder Nailah Lymus says high fashion CAN be modest

High fashion CAN be modest, says founder of new modelling agency for Muslim women

A new modelling agency for Muslim girls will next week in New York City.

Underwraps will represent beautiful Muslims proving that the heady world of fashion does not need to exist at pains with the sanctity of Islamic customs.

In an interview with Fashionista, Underwraps' founder, Nailah Lymus, explained that wished to bridge the gap between modesty and fashion.

Pioneering: Nailah Lymus, left, is attempting to propel modestly dressed girls into mainstream western fashion. Her Muslim modelling agency launches nest week

Pioneering: Nailah Lymus, left, is attempting to propel modestly dressed girls into mainstream western fashion. Her Muslim modelling agency launches nest week

'[Muslim models] come from a background where they dress Islamically appropriate, but to be in this industry and to be a model you kind of have to forfeit that,' the 27-year-old said.

'That’s why I wanted to start this agency, so you don’t have to do that. You don’t have to lose who you are to be in this business.'

The American-born Muslim, who dresses to comply with faith-led beliefs of modesty, started designing children's clothes before turning to her hand to adult creations.

The designer behind Amirah Creations, Ms Lymus had her first runway show during New York's Fashion Week last September, forging a path for non-traditional approaches to Islamic fashion and custom. She is now venturing into the world of modelling and has timed the launch to coincide with New York Fashion Week, just days away.

Tunisian beauty: Muslim Hanaa Ben Abdesslem is now a face of Lancome - but will girls need to expose flesh to succeed in fashion

Tunisian beauty: Muslim Hanaa Ben Abdesslem is now a face of Lancome – but will girls need to expose flesh to succeed in fashion

It's not an easy pool to leap into – many models are expected to reveal flesh and Ms Lymus told the fashion site that exposing skin does seem to be a fast track to receiving attention and recognition.

Her ambitions are no less lofty,
however: 'We take things seriously and are professional just like other
models. During fashion week I’ll be sending them out to castings just
like anyone else,' she told the site.

With four girls in development, reports the site, the aim is to sign up strong women who can not only work in the highly-pressured industry but take on the common misconceptions of the Islamic world.

Lilac: Last September saw, for the first time, an Arab magazine featuring a model in a bikini on its front cover

Lilac: Last September saw, for the first time, an Arab magazine featuring a model in a bikini on its front cover

There is no doubt that she may well have a ready-made market for her fresh models: Fashion houses enjoy good business in
the Muslim world, with many a well-heeled Emirati or Saudi Arab woman
clamouring for the latest in Milan, London, New York and Paris fashions.

The move follows a groundswell of pioneering Muslim faces in the fashion world.

Lancme recently signed Tunisian, Hanaa Ben Abdesslem, its first ever Muslim model to represent its cosmetics.

Though not adhering to Islamic modesty standards – and at odds with Ms Lymus' ideals – last
September saw Palestinian magazine, Lilac, in a first for Arab magazines, feature a model in a bikini on its front cover.

The stunning model, Huda Naccache, was an Arab Israeli. While applauded for her role in womens' rights in the region, she was also widely criticised by Arab commentators for exposing her body so publicly.