In what Clare O'Connor of Forbes calls "its smartest move in years," fashion house Dolce & Gabbana is dipping in to a market with massive potential: Muslim fashion. D&G has launched its first collection of abayas and hijabs for the Middle Eastern luxury goods market. While designed to be modest, per Vogue, the new line has "all the flair of any other Dolce & Gabbana collection," with lace embellishments, bright floral details, and vibrant prints. Already, Forbes notes, women in wealthy Persian Gulf oil states accessorize their abayas and hijabs with expensive handbags, shoes, and crystals, and often wear brands, such as D&G, "head-to-toe" beneath their modest outer garments. "It's about time" a fashion house did this, observes a post at FastCoDesign.
Calling Muslim women "the next big untapped market," Fortune references a Thomson Reuters report that projects global spending on clothing and footwear by Muslims to increase to $484 billion by 2019, up from $266 billion in 2013 (more than was spent by Japanese and Italian consumers combined). A Pew Research Center projection helps explain why: By 2050, the number of Muslims in the world is expected to equal that of Christians. D&G already has several shops in Persian Gulf states, per Forbes. And luxury e-commerce company Moda Operandi has had such success with clients from Persian Gulf states (including the sale of a $413,000 ruby necklace) that it is looking into opening a showroom in the region. "No word yet if it’ll stock D&G’s abaya line," O'Connor writes, "but watch this space." (Two Muslim women argue that Christians who wear hijabs in the name of unity are misguided.)