In 2016, Dolce & Gabbana made headlines by launching a collection of hijabs and abayas (long, loose dresses) for Muslim women. Since 2014, DKNY has been doing the same regularly as Ramadan approaches.
On the Instagram side, turban influencers such as Dina Tokio have more than a million subscribers. Last year, Condé Nast published its illustrious magazine in Middle Eastern version with VOGUE Arabia, following Harper’s Bazaar’s earlier path. So, has the woman in hijab become a fashion icon?
A client like any other
Whether some people like it or not, the Muslim woman is no longer confined to her herd or her camel caravan, nor in the kitchen to prepare couscous — whether she covers her hair or not, by the way. Even more among millennials and those from the second or even generation following immigration.
Like everyone else, she put herself on social networks, and is not spared by trends. We also note the appearance of socio-cultural currents, such as the mipsters — contraction of “muslim” and “hipsters” — who ride listening to Jay-Z.
The stigma of the hijab gradually fades, mentalities become more open… So it was only a matter of time before fashion took its turn over it. Especially when we know that, according to Reuteurs, Muslim customers will spend 484 billion dollars on clothes and shoes in 2019…
A wider and wider choice
“Business is business”, it is said… Facing such a market, many brands have seized the potential of collections dedicated to the aesthetic codes and customs of Islam. It is interesting to highlight the scale of this, affecting both the entry-level —Mango or Mark & Spencer — as well as luxury at D&G and Oscar de la Renta.
Sportswear is not to be outdone. Since we’re seeing athletes at the Olympic Games, the swoosh equipment manufacturer has been offering a technical hijab, adapted to the practice of physical exercise.
In a sense, these changes in supply then reflect a recognition of Muslim women in their plurality (and purchasing power). It’s about time.
The hijab, star of the catwalks
In 2017, Halima Aden becomes the first model wearing a hijab to sign with an international agency (IMG Models). Under the leadership of her pygmalion, Popess Carine Roitfeld, she became a regular on the Max Mara, Alberta Ferretti and Philipp Plein runways. An inclusion that can only be welcomed.
More insidiously, we also find a growing number of hijabs on the heads of Caucasian models — notably at Gucci, Marc Jacobs and Versace. Some will shout “cultural appropriation”, others will speak of a subtle marketing approach. For some, it’s just all about style. The debates are open.
So, if the new idyll between fashion and hijab indirectly contributes to its integration in society, isn’t it likely to eventually reduce it to a mere accessory ? Case to follow… •