The hijab, which means curtain in Arabic is a head covering often worn by Muslim women to represent modesty and dignity. Dolce & Gabbana recent release of hijab and abayas sparked a viral conversation leaving some pleased and others questioning the motives behind the debut collection. While Dolce & Gabbana collection went viral on the internet, it is not the only luxury brand with their hand in the niche fashion market. In 2014 DKNY launched a collection in honor of Ramadan, a month long holiday for Muslims. The collection consisted of modest silhouettes and bold-color dresses.
With anti-Muslim sentiment prevalent in America many suggest that widely-recognized luxury brands catering to Muslim women signifies a shift in the negative perception of Muslims. In identifying Islamophobia, an exaggerated fear/hatred towards Islam and Muslim, Gallup mentions that a great deal of anti-Muslim sentiment stems from the 9/11 attack and misrepresentation of information portrayed in the media, indicating that all Muslims are terrorist or treats. A Gallup poll reported in 2011 states that 52% of Americans believe western societies do not respect Muslims.
Fashion is often used as a form of expression and communication. Therefore, well known designers creating garments for a niche group helps to shed light on the specific needs of a group, while helping to create a sense of acceptance from mainstream audiences. Reina Lewis, professor of cultural studies at London College of Fashion UAL, explains to Refinery29 in an interview that “it can feel obliterating if your faith isn’t reflected on the shelves.” While some Muslim woman may be ecstatic about having a voice in fashion, Lewis further explain that shinning a light on Muslim women fashion opens the door for consumer capitalism.