In what Forbes says is their “smartest move in years,” fashion industry titans Dolce & Gabbana have launched their first collection of abayas and hijabs with a strategic eye to the booming Middle East market.
So Cosmopolitan wanted to know what Muslim women thought of the line and marketing campaign. And they got some terrific women to give their opinions including: activist Linda Sarsour who is the Executive Director for Arab American Association of New York; Hassanah El-Yacoubi, a fashion blogger and graduate student in religious studies; Egyptian artist Deena Mohamed and web creator; Sam Elauf, the Muslim-American woman who sued Abercrombie & Fitch for discrimination; and MuslimGirl.net founder Amani Alkhat.
Here are some snippets from the interviews:
Linda Sarsour: I think D&G’s new abaya collection is elegant and beautiful. I think it’s commendable of D&G to unveil this line during a time of heightened discrimination and bigotry against Muslims, particularly Muslim women.
Hassanah El-Yacoubi: My appreciation for it is largely due to the implicit statement D&G made by releasing this line more so than the fashions themselves. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the line, but the fact that they are catering to Muslim women and released it during a time where anti-Muslim sentiment pervades most public discourses had me sold in more ways than one.
Deena Mohamed: I appreciate that the ads are not sexualized, and that the abayas actually look wearable… but I believe there is some major criticism in that the model was white and non-Muslim…. if they are truly intending to appeal to the Muslim women audience and win points for representation, it would garner more positive attention from their target audience to have a Muslim model of color wearing them. This is something H&M did last year, and it was generally well-received.
Sam Elauf: Eventually I feel like more brands will follow the trend [of modest fashion] and do something similar to what H&M did and feature a hijabi model in an advertisement to show their interest in promoting their products to Muslim women. There is a huge market for modest clothing and brands will attract Muslim women if they sell more modest clothing.
Amani Alkhat: The thing that makes this line so exciting is that it could be a significant shift in making the fashion world more inclusive….There’s a lot of potential for D&G to shatter glass ceilings by pulling more Muslim women into this campaign, which would really shift it from seeming like corporate opportunism to genuinely being about women’s empowerment.
For more on this story, please read: Dolce & Gabbana and The Muslim Woman.