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Dolce & Gabbana seem to be using a white-passing model for their new hijab collection

06 Jan 2016

Fashion designers Dolce & Gabbana have launched a new hijab collection using what appears to be a white-passing model to market it.

By using a white, or white-passing model over a visibly Arab or black one, the designers have arguably failed to give opportunities to representatives of the consumer market they intend to engage with. White-passing is when a person possesses typically ‘white’ features and is perceived to be ‘white’.

While these claims are yet to be confirmed as the model’s identity is undisclosed, this places Dolce & Gabbana’s collection into question.

Launched on 3 January via Style Arabia, the new range means that they have joined the likes of H&M in appealing to Muslim consumers, particularly in the Middle East.

It includes a new hijab (headscarf) and abaya (loose, full-length outer garment) collection, consisting of sheer georgette and satin weave charmeuse fabrics in mostly neutral colours, and is marketed to Middle Eastern women.

It is also the first time a fashion brand has appealed to Muslim women outside the month of Ramadan, which is significant because it addresses Muslim women as consumers outside of a specifically religious context.

With estimates that ‘Islamic fashion’ will be worth over £200 billion by 2020, Dolce & Gabbana’s collection is the latest in fashion brands attempts to tap into this market. Zara and Net-A-Porter launched special Ramadan editorials, while H&M featured Muslim hijabi model, Mariah Idrissi, in their ‘Close the Loop’ campaign, in 2015.

“Seeing Dolce & Gabbana launch in this market is definitely a positive thing,” Mariah Idrissi told the Telegraph, explaining that fashion designers are beginning to realise the “potential” of the market.