Dolce and Gabbana is a brand well known for its ability to create authentic and elegant garments, usually inspired by its Mediterranean background. The fashion house has taken a different direction as explores the Middle Eastern fashion, with its latest Hijab and Abaya Spring/Summer 2016 collection.
For the first time, Dolce and Gabbana has created a clothing range aimed at the multimillion pound Muslim fashion market, and is receiving a positive reaction after its debut on Style.com/Arabia.
Muslim women wear the hijab to encourage modesty, as well as using it as an expression of their cultural identity. Challenging Western feminist ideas of hijab-wearing woman being oppressed, and given a lack of freedom of speech. The Abaya is a very important element of Islam. Like the hijab, women wear the Abaya to cover their body, excluding the eyes, feet and hands so that a woman feels protected from the male gaze amongst other things.
Ankle length flowing garments were took centre stage, rather than their usual slim fitting designs. The georgette and satin charmeuse fabrics used were neutral colours of black and white, with dashes of colour in daisy, lemon, polka dot and rose prints. The addition of yellows, greens and reds creates a fresh and elegant vibe.
Dolce and Gabbana are not the first appealing to the Muslim market, as DKNY released a Ramadan collection in 2014. It was styled by two Muslim women who both work in the fashion industry; Yalda Golsharifi (editor and businesswoman) and Tamara Al Gabbani (designer). This was an advantage for DKNY, as they know how to appeal to the women this collection is aimed at, as well as being professionals in their fields.
The line is filled with long dresses, jumpsuits, maxi skirts, shirts and evening jackets using a colour palette of white, black and orange. This collection is a prime example of sophisticated fashion which frames curves modestly, rather than covering them up completely, or making them obvious.
With such big labels accentuating the beauty of Muslim fashion, could there be progress made in society and its views towards religious attire, or is this just a business move for brands to reach out to a larger customer base?
Text: Afua Aidoo