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So-called ‘good’ fashion has long been exclusionary – once the term “high-end” is flung about, most people think it’s out of reach. This thinking is why fashion magazines tend to exist, because they present an idealized form of opulence that’s so out-of-reach, most people will never experience it. The term they use is “aspirational,” which simply means “oh no, not for you, but try and imagine.” And it’s enticing.

Quality of fashion is segmented by net income, and high fashion is more often than not catering to European, North American and Asian markets. Following the money, perhaps – 468, 536 and 562 billionaires respectively. But times are changing, and instead of just opening up a shop in Dubai, like some brands have done, some designers are going the extra mile. That’s why Dolce & Gabbana has taken a new step for its business, and that is to design hijabs and abayas for Muslim women.

What designers are slowly beginning to realize is that their pre-conceived notions about where wealth lives are not wholly accurate. In the Middle East, there are 78 billionaires with a net worth of $209 billion. What’s more, in 2013, Muslims spent $266 billion on clothing and footwear.

Dolce & Gabbana

When we were in Dubai last year, we spoke to many young, fashionable women, and asked about how their abayas were unique to them. “It’s actually fun for us to get an abaya that’s all yours, rather than getting something generic from a shop. Having one custom-made ensures you will stand out from your friends,” one woman told us. “We spend most of our money on accessories, like purses, jewelry and glasses, because they are always seen.” Of course, this isn’t every woman’s lifestyle, so having good, quality options that stand out and are fashionable makes total sense – not every woman wants to labour over her look.

Dolce & Gabbana is the most recent, but it is by no means the first global brand to make abayas and hijabs. Hana Tajima designed a collection of the garments for Uniqlo, and DKNY and Tommy Hilfiger have both released Ramadan collections.

It’s a great step, and definitely a way to propel the fashion industry forward and avoid overlooking people who like fashion, but aren’t always catered to. And frankly, these designs are gorgeous. Take a look:

 

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