Following on the heels of an H&M ad campaign that featured a model clad in a hijab, today Dolce & Gabbana announced a collection of hijabs and abayas aimed at fashion-conscious Muslim customers.
This is absolutely brilliant business strategy every way you slice it.
While other designers like Donna Karan have done capsule collections aimed at Muslim women during Ramadan, Dolce & Gabbana’s line looks to be a permanent addition to their label, making them the first luxury line to cater to this large demographic — a Reuters report claims that Muslim shoppers spent $266 billion on apparel and footwear in 2013, a figure that is projected to nearly double by 2019. This line will be a smash hit, especially among the ultra-rich, because it is true to D&G aesthetics — dramatic Sicilian lace, quirky patterns, and baroque accessories — and I predict other designer labels will be following suit shortly.
This is also a great step towards inclusiveness in the fashion industry, which often seems like it’s built upon exclusivity. Additionally, it’s in line with D&G’s recent brand messaging, which suggests that the brand is for people of all ages, genders, and races, by including nonnas in ad campaigns and bambinos on the runway. This message is reiterated by the types of images Stefano Gabbana posts to Instagram with the hashtag #dgfamily and #dgwomenlovemakeup — images uploaded of real women with their makeup products and real families from all over the world with the Dolce & Gabbana branding added to the photos to look like a campaign. Some are glamorous, but many are not, and the result is refreshing, and not at all cloying. Still, it’s fair to note that all of the families that I saw in the gallery are heteronormative, and the D&G “women” only loving makeup is somewhat troubling. D&G has made a great stride forward with their hijab and abaya designs, but still has a way to go.
I’m looking forward to industry responses to this new line. Burberry might like to incorporate similar pieces to reinforce their inclusive messaging and because of how Muslim culture has become a part of Britishness today. I’d love to see Karl put his take on something like this, and it would be a logical step for Hermés, considering their signature accessory. Stay tuned, too for echoes of this on the runways next month — I have a feeling Celine-y modesty might be very in come February.