Washington Post reports that “Banana Republic, the mainstream retailer known for no-frills work wear, has introduced a line of hijabs, making it the latest consumer brand to create products for Muslim women. The company this week began selling four styles of the religious headscarves, including satin fabrics and leopard prints, on its website for between $40 and $50. It added the products to the ‘accessories; section of its site [as] part of an effort to ‘to reflect the rich diversity of customers and employees.'”
Analysts say that the growing emergence of modest clothing lines into mainstream stores shows a meaningful shift in retailers’ attitudes toward inclusion and diversity.
Here are more snippets from the Washington Post article:
— The apparel industry is undergoing massive change, and analysts say companies are having to rethink their products to attract new shoppers. Many are using their websites as a way to reach groups they might have ignored in traditional stores, where the focus has long been on stocking shelves with items that will appeal to the largest swath of consumers.
— “Mainstream companies are waking up to the fact that there is value in Muslim consumers,” said Sabiha Ansari, co-founder of the American Muslim Consumer Consortium, a nonprofit that works with businesses. “Any time a consumer is acknowledged, that’s a good thing.”
— Companies are increasingly taking a stand on a number of issues — from the environment to immigration — in response to President Trump’s divisive rhetoric. Adding a line of hijabs, she said, “is a way retailers can show that everybody’s invited to their brand.”
— Some shoppers, though, said they felt conflicted about major retailers getting into the hijab business. Was it inclusion, they wondered, or the appropriation of a religious symbol for the sake of their bottom line? “On the one hand, it does feel like they’re profiting off of us,” said Leena Snoubar, 25, an American Muslim fashion blogger whose Instagram handle @withloveleena has nearly 800,000 followers. “But on the other, it’s a way to normalize hijab and make us feel more included.”