It seems that each time you turn around another abaya brand is born. What’s not too common is well established western design houses creating Abayas. When Dolce & Gabbana created their first abaya collection in January 2016, which debuted on Style Arabia, the internet was buzzing with a lot of emotions. While some were really excited and felt that established designers were finally starting to acknowledge their Muslim customers and the beauty of Islamic fashion, others felt like this was just another example of western exploitation. Exploit the Muslim market to take advantage of their spending power not because of an appreciation of their dress sense and cultural styles.
Personally, I knew that western design houses designing abayas was only a matter of time, in fact some clothing retailers like MNG had already created Ramadan capsule collections a few years back. If you’re a Muslim woman living in either Africa, Asia, or the Middle East then perhaps you’re as underwhelmed as I was with the collection. So many designers in the UAE have created dazzling abaya collections in all kinds of hues, textures and colors imaginable with some literally taking your breath away, so Dolce & Gabbana still has a long way to go before it impresses the average Muslima. (See Abaya’s by Roselle and DAS)
That being said, I’m happy that Dolce & Gabbana created an abaya collection because it enables dialogue and it also opens the eyes and minds of westerners to start thinking about the abaya in more positive and less threatening ways. Who knows, perhaps some non-Muslims will embrace the Abaya for its simplicity, comfort and timeless elegance. Oh and lets not forget they’re also creating a Hijab line with that.
How do you feel about the Dolce & Gabbana Abaya and Hijab collection?