I've already documented my crush with the brand Dolce & Gabbana on the blog before and they've given me yet another reason to love them even more. Last week, they launched their first abaya collection on Style Arabia. While some might consider this move controversial due to the current anti-Muslim sentiment in many parts of the world, it is a savvy business move for the brand. According to Fortune, Muslims spent $266B on fashion in 2013, more than Italy and Japan combined and the magazine predicts that this number will rise to $484B in 2019.
Of course Muslims have been wearing high end designer clothing for years and the brands in turn have done everything to capitalize on this by satisfying their demand for elaborately beaded items. In 2011, Reuters reported that Arab women were thebiggest buyers ofhaute couture,and they continue to dominate a market that only serves an estimated 2,000 privileged clients worldwide.
In the notoriously secretive world ofhaute couture, Muslim buyers are among the hardest to identify, for most never wear their purchases in public, keeping them hidden behind closed doors or underabayasmade by Muslim designers. Many commission these custom-made garments for elaborate, gender-segregated wedding celebrations that might last up to a week, requiring several outfits.
Fashion has always catered to emerging markets whether in China, Japan or Brazil and this is no different. Ultimately, I believe that fashion should be about choices -having the freedom to dress in a way that fits your style and culture and I'm glad that Dolce & Gabbana is one of the brands providing these choices for all women.