Two years ago, France banned the burkini from its beaches; what was created as a comfortable swimwear option for Muslim women was taken away. It is easy to feel like we are living in the most anti-Islamic times of recent memory. The alt-right’s growth, hate speech, and increase in Islamophobic rhetoric and crimes all point to a less inclusive world. However, in the face of this rising hate, fashion has taken on creating a new and inclusive space for all faiths, bodies, and races—and most recently the industry seems to have focused on bringing Muslim-friendly garments into the mainstream.
In 2015, H&M, a Swedish fast-fashion company, made headlines as Mariah Idrissi became the first Muslim woman to be featured in one of their campaigns and ever since, it seems like every other brand is trying to hop on the inclusive bandwagon. That same year, Dubai had its first ever fashion week and in 2016, Dolce & Gabbana launched a line of hijabs and abayas. 2017 saw Nike’s first sports hijab and Yeezy’s Season 5 included headscarf-wearing Halima Aden on the runway. Not to mention, Rihanna stole everyone’s eyes at Coachella this year with her Gucci Balaclava. These past runways have seen a large growth in options for Muslim women as well as a shift towards the more inclusive, modest fashion movement.
Previous attempts at reaching out to the Muslim fashion consumer involved a lot of capsule, single releases. Brands like DKNY, Tommy Hilfiger, and Oscar de la Renta,
to name a few, produced one-time collections around Ramadan, but now fashion brands are more focused on making sustainable places for Muslim shoppers. These steps go further than just creating patterned, luxurious hijabs but wave in a whole new-style of clothing: modest wear. With their fun, floral abayas, Dolce & Gabbana nodded their heads towards the women—not just Muslim, but also Christian and Jewish—that want to dress more conservatively.
The new attention is groundbreaking in our War on Terror world. In the words of MuslimGirl.com creator Amani Al-Khatahtbeh, “For the first time in my life since 9/11, it’s almost a given to see women who look like me in marketing campaigns or editorials, and that’s really cool.” And this inclusivity also has a lucrative side. According to a report done by Thomas Reuter, the Muslim consumer market is expected to reach $368 billion by 2021 and by 2050, to match the purchasing power of the Christian market. As young Muslims, unlike their Christian counterparts, are moving closer rather than away from their faith, fashion companies will have to shift to modest approaches to reach this market. Luckily, most modern brands are having no qualms with this and are striving to make the fashion world open to all.
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Uncovered: The Rise of the Hijab in Mainstream Fashion; Image credits: @dolcegabbana on Instagram; @rollingout on Instagram