Great news for Muslim women, D&G launches Hijab and Abaya collection
News broke that Dolce & Gabbana is producing a collection of hijabs and abayas targeted to Muslim customers in the Middle East. The garments, while engineered for modesty, have all the flair of any other Dolce & Gabbana collection—a little jewel-encrusted lemon here, some black lace trim there—and are styled alongside the label’s cocktail jewelry, oversize sunglasses, and patterned bags in a lookbook shoot. To Muslim women with a taste for luxury fashion, this collection is an exciting development.
The line will likely prove good news for D&G’s 2016 revenue as well. According to a report by Thomson Reuters, Muslim shoppers spent $266 billion on clothing and footwear in 2013 and are expected to spend $484 billion by 2019. Following similar booms in the Chinese, Japanese, and other Asian markets in the late aughts and early ’10s, high fashion brands revamped their accessories strategies to appeal to the shopping habits of an Asian clientele. That meant a flood of miniature bags and stylized phone cases that was soon followed by many Asian-inspired collections and destination shows. The benefits of those decisions are still seen today: A handbag designer recently told me her miniature purses, sized so small as to only fit an iPhone, were still her top sellers in Japan. So why aren’t more Western houses creating collections for the Middle Eastern market?
In recent years, such brands as DKNY, Oscar de la Renta, Tommy Hilfiger, Mango, and Monique Lhuillier have produced one-off collections, often sold around Ramadan, but stats prove the Muslim market is keen for luxury goods all-year-round. Runway fashion, meanwhile, is veering dramatically in the opposite direction, with bare-chested models becoming the norm on the catwalks. Even so, it would be smart for designers to pepper their upcoming Fall 2016 catwalks with a selection of more modest options for Muslim customers among their transparent trousers and sheer blouses. You’ll have to check back during our coverage this February to see if that happens.
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