Ghizlan Guenez

The Woman Creating the Net-a-Porter for Modesty

Modest clothing is—more often than not—associated with religious garb. And the fashion sites that serve this customer? Well, they offer exactly that. That is, until The Modist. Founded by Ghizlan Guenez, The Modist (pronounced mode-ist) is an e-commerce site that aims to be the Net-a-Porter of modest fashion. The platform serves a customer largely ignored by mainstream fashion, curating pieces that fit their lifestyle from 100 of the leading luxury fashion brands (think Marni, Ellery and Christopher Kane). Through the site, Guenez hopes to change the perception of what it means to dress modestly.

What’s something you’d like people to know about you or your job that they probably don’t?

“I spend half my time at work well outside my comfort zone, which I’m told is where the magic happens! It’s one of my learnings, and it’s incredible what it does to one’s character. The constant learning and growth is as enjoyable as it is challenging.”

What does being a woman mean to you today?

“We live in one of the most exciting times to be a woman. There is much for us to achieve and change, yet we’ve come a long way. Recent events have shown how solidarity and speaking up can create change and make a difference and all of us have a role to play in empowering and supporting one another. I’m very fortunate to be in a business that is built on the premise of empowering women and their choice of dressing and living a certain way and a platform that advocates diversity and inclusiveness. Being able to spread these messages amongst women is a true passion of mine and the rest of my team—our founding team consists of five women, and the rest of the team includes a majority of women.”

In today’s Instagram world, how do you stay original?

“It’s very tempting to see something that works for someone and try and emulate it, in Instagram or elsewhere, but authenticity is key to success, and people spot the lack of it immediately. Stay true to yourself and to what you believe in even if it’s not mainstream (in fact, especially if it’s not mainstream).”

Favorite podcast?

The Twenty Minute VC by Harry Stebbings and Drive by Business of Fashion.”

Desert island question: If you could bring only three things, what would they be?

“Since the launch of The Modist, it’s become super important for me to stay connected, so I’d pick my iPhone, internet connectivity (someone needs to figure that one out) and a solar charger.”

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