Muslims make up 22 per cent of the world’s population and 5 per cent of the UK’s, however their specific needs are often ignored by brands – whether high street or high end. Yesterday Dolce & Gabbana released its debut collection of hijabs and abayas, perhaps signalling change. Premiered on Style.com/Arabia, the collection features a range of the veils and outer garments in a neutral colour palette of “luxe black and sandy beige”.
Stefano Gabbana, who previewed the range via his Instagram account this morning, hinted at the collection in an interview with English-language Middle Eastern newspaper The National in July last year. “I’m really fascinated with the Middle East and we’ve just completed a prêt-a-porter collection of abayas and sheylas,” he said, “Pieces have some lace, embroidery and some prints – but not too much. They will be available in the UAE this October.”
Western brands are increasing their presence in the Middle East – something illustrated by Chanel’s decision to present its Cruise 2015 collection in Dubai last year. And this isn’t specific to the Arab world: these brands are also catering more to the needs of Muslim shoppers around the globe. Last year Uniqlo released its debut hijab range and H&M cast a Muslim model – Mariah Idrissi – wearing the veil in its ‘Close the Loop’ campaign, showing a shift in the high street’s attitudes to inclusivity.
Is this a sign of social progress or merely a brand’s attempt to tap a different market? Let us know in the comments section below.