Dolce and Gabbana is all set to take the middle eastern market by storm. The Italian fashion company for the first time ever has launched their collection of stylish and beautiful hijabs and abayas which is sure to make any shopper in the Gulf drool with longing.
But the Italian fashion powerhouse is not the first to make the foray into middle eastern dressing. Remember Debbie Wingham's diamond studded abaya anyone? Or H&M's hijab wearing model? Designers such as Hermes, Aramis, Estée Lauder's previous collections have already been inspired by Arabia and they have an exclusive line of luxury abayas and hijabs specifically targeting Muslim markets.
Just like the cash-strapped couturiers of the 1970's tweaked their collection to adhere to Muslims for petrodollars, fashion houses are now doing the exact same.
Despite the fact that this new fashion development has come at a time when islamophobic statements are at its highest, not everyone in the Muslim world is pleased.
Trying to be stylish while at the same time adhering to the rules of Sharia dressing has been at the main crux of Muslim women’s problem for a last few decades, and as Fatin Marini writes in The Guardian, one small collection is not going to change that.
"I want to see Dolce & Gabbana – and every other design house – make clothes for the everyday Muslim woman. Clothes she can wear to work, to school, to party," she writes as a Muslim woman in America.
Dina Tokio on the D&G abayas mess: "Thank you but no thank you" https://t.co/fs8TnlbK0N
— Aaisha Dadi Patel (@aaishadadipatel) January 8, 2016
The fact is that the luxe hijabs and abayas advertised by D&G cater only to the crème de la crème of the Muslim population in the Middle East, London and Paris who can easily afford one of a kind creations. Muslim Fashion bloggers are calling it "another luxury product that caters to the wealthy to flaunt."
The Daily Sabah highlights the problematic task of shopping and "the continued struggles of hijabis to find the "right" items that do not require wearing layer upon layer, altering, pinning, et cetera."
Why buy D&G abayas when you can go to Whitechapel market & buy a similar thing for like a fiver?
— S. (@xs_ldn) January 4, 2016
Another problem with their campaign: D&G have used only European models to advertise their latest collection for Muslim women and none with Middle Eastern features. Many have called them out on this blatant racism in model selection.
"D&G have released their own line of hijabs and abayas making them the latest brand to cater to Muslim women" D&G: *only uses white models*
— hentai grandma (@tiffanynhuff) January 7, 2016
Also, why has D&G used white models if they are making a line for Muslim women? #AppropriationMuch
— Charl Blignaut (@sa_poptart) January 8, 2016
As the Huffington Post noted, the fastest growing population at 1.8% per annum, the Muslim world population is at 2.1billion today equating to 30% of the world population. It high time not just luxury but regular, everyday brands start catering to that audience.
There is a rise of the new muslim woman— as fashion bloggers, designers, world leaders, CEOs and models, and these women are not going to be satisfied with the rare bone the fashion industry throws them.