On a particularly busy May Friday, Rachelle Yadegar, 24, and Judith Illulian, 26, are scrambling in their office on the ninth floor of an old, marbled building in the fashion section of Downtown Los Angeles to send out 300 dress orders. They own a brand of fashionable-but-modest clothing for Orthodox Jewish women called RaJu, and the start of Shabbat, Memorial Day, and the Jewish holiday Shavuot will leave them unable to work for a week.

The square room is cluttered with merchandise. A magenta sequined roll of fabric inspired by J.Crew pours out of a cardboard box. Papers cover the desk. Floral dresses folded in plastic lay on the floor. The columns of white shelves lining the walls are stacked with Raju's signature styles, like the "eye-catching" Jenna, a light-blue leopard print body-con dress made of polyester and spandex.

Yadegar is wearing RaJu's hot-pink silk bomber, a hot-pink band skirt wrapped to her shins, hot-pink lipstick, pink rouge, and turquoise eyeliner shaded by thick lashes. With her bronze skin, bright outfits, and tousled jet-black hair, she could be mistaken for a "Jersey Shore" cast member. She's actually a Jewish Orthodox woman of Persian descent, who keeps kosher and observes the rules of religious dress, which say women must cover their legs, collarbones, and arms. She often broke those rules as a schoolgirl, and now with RaJu, she's pushing the boundaries of what it means to dress modestly as an observant Jewish woman.

Yadegar and Illulian launched RaJu two years ago right as modest clothing became trendy in the secular fashion world. In 2015, an Elle article claimed the fad was "brewing" and NBC Today wrote a change had arrived on the fashion scene, as "sexy styles take a backseat to classier, more conservative looks." With bold colors, girlish patterns, curve-hugging silhouettes, and luxurious fabrics of velvet and silk, RaJu is showing how Los Angeles can be a daring, fashion-forward voice in the modest dress trend where the more well-known New York designers, like Mimu Maxi and The Frock NYC, tend to dominate with their selection of "elevated basics." The New York styles usually have a minimalist aesthetic with neutral palettes and safer, simpler cuts. Yadegar looks like a backlash to that concept.

"The New York Orthodox fashion world has become all the same," says Michelle Honig, an Orthodox freelance fashion writer for The Observer, Vogue, and elsewhere. "Instead of making unique pieces that are fashion-forward and Avant-garde, they're more interested in making money. So they're making pieces that are easy to produce and more popular. In L.A., it seems there's more freedom. You're not stuck in this box trying to compete with everyone around you. People are encouraged to do what they want."

Hints of the movement first began to show in the mid-aughts when Orthodox women interested in style launched personal blogs. They used the platform to show that religious law didn't have to confine them to baggy skirts and frumpy frocks, as stereotypes claim. Yadegar's blog is called Not Without My Heels, and gets a thousand hits a week. In a March post, she's modeling a new hot pink maxi for Raju.Read more at:marieaustralia | plus size formal dresses