More and more fashion designers wish to attract Muslim ladies with collections that would be specially designed for them.
Do you believe that Islamic market is not concerned about fashion? Then you should get acquainted with some numbers: As Thomson Reuters inform on their latest report, worldwide Muslims use 266 billion dollars on shoes and clothes every year. That is significantly more than the total amount that is spent on fashion in Italy and Japan together. In addition, this report also notices that that amount can keep growing by reaching 484 billion dollars in next five years.
And nevertheless, followers of this industry claim that the special fashion market for Islamic women is still comparatively acquired —but maybe not for a long time.
Some of the popular fashion designers have initiated to produce special collections and clothes for Muslim girls. It is a tendency that shows how fast Islamic population expands - as Pew Research affirms, the amount of Muslim population globally will increase to the same amount of Christians in a period of next 20 or 30 years, together with its influential power.
"The population of Muslims grows worldwide, with it's increasing and youthful demographic," claims Reina Lewis, an author of the forthcoming book Muslim Fashion: Contemporary Style Cultures and a professor of cultural studies at London College of Fashion UAL. "Muslims are becoming an essential part of customers for every field, segment, and business."
"The market segment of special products for Muslim people began with special offers for the finance industry and food supplies," she notifies. "I have been claiming for many years that the fashion gonna be the third F - and this is really what is just starting to occur.
DKNY tried first, opening a small Ramadan collection for Muslim women. Later also a designer Tommy Hilfiger came out with its special collection for Ramadan, and now more and more manufacturers, designers of fashion and retailers, like Net-a-Porter's luxury fashion, Zara and also Mango, are providing special clothing lines also for holidays.
A representative of Mango claims that the company that is based in Barcelona is satisfied with a success of Ramadan collection that is well sold, adding that Arabic countries made up 5% of their sales revenue this past year.
The focus on Ramadan starts from its growing status for Muslim people as a holiday for shopping. Although Amani Al-Khatahtbeh, who is a founding editor-in-chief of the website MuslimGirl.net, claims that fashion designers are actively "selling on Ramadan, but we truly do not notice anything from these brands and companies for another eleven months of the year," she also points out the resemblance of collections for other holidays, like Hanukkah and Christmas.
"There are occasions every year that are special for particular parts of society and it is awesome for us to become a part of it," she claims. "We notice when fashion designers give a message to Islamic society (with these collections for Ramadan): We know this is your special month."
But the actual question is, will Muslim people be finally targeted by fashion designers not only on their annual holy month once in the year.
Shelina Janmohamed, a vice president of the Oglivy Noor that is a brand consultancy that is focused on Muslim clients, considers so and has made an investigation to research this subject more closely.
"It is easy to notice why Ramadan has become so popular within fashion designers," she thinks. "But really, the more important for young Muslim ladies and other Muslim customers actually is the rest part of the year. I believe manufacturers should start improving their (year-round) clothing lines for these clients."
Uniqlo, the Japanese company for clothing that was created a new LifeWear collection made by Hana Tajima, is one of the stores that is moving toward it. This collection that was launched on July 3 is available both online and in specific stores in Singapore. It is designed by Hana Tajima, a young Muslim writer, who made not very tight blouses, dresses, and skirts for this collection, together with more conventional hijab and kebaya.
But Uniqlo characterizes this collection of Tajima as a specific and unassuming clothing line without any reference to Ramadan or Muslim people. Lewis considers that it shows that fashion that is made for Muslims can be suitable also for other cultures by starting a new movement of modesty in fashion.
But another important question is whether these collections that are oriented on Muslim people can reach the stores in Western countries. Oscar de la Renta, Tommy Hilfiger, and DKNY are offering their collections exclusively only in the Middle East countries. Collections of Zara and Mango can be bought also online, but only through their Middle Eastern web stores.
"What is the purpose of getting these Ramadan clothing lines from famous designers and brands if they are available only to people overseas who are currently familiar with Ramadan and have it already?" Al-Khatahtbeh asks. "It should be here in the Western countries and the United States where this type of presence could go much further".
"I am not sure that they realize the potential of Muslim demographic in the Western world," she claims. "Openly, that is an enormous loss for designers since Muslims are actually untapped market yet."
But Janmohamed is positive and thinks that fashion designers may develop their collections that are oriented on Muslim people also in their Western stores soon. She points out that it was almost impossible to find something appropriate to Muslim fashion generally some years ago. "Within last years we have noticed how it moved from just an idea to something that designers are offering now for real," she claims. "The increasing curve of this industry has been developing extremely fast."