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01/08/2016 - 07:00hs
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Muslim-influenced fashion in Brazil and the world

Since last year, global brands are creating more and more pieces for Islamic women. In Brazil, items such as kaftans are popular. And non-Muslim women are wearing them too.



Dolce & Gabanna

Dolce & Gabanna: going after the Islamic buyer

São Paulo – International clothing brands and retail chains are making room in their stores for the style of Muslim women. And that includes some Brazilian brands. Household industry names are putting their own spin on the dressing styles of Islamic women. “The Islamic world is in the spotlight right now,” says fashion consultant Ana Paula Lima.

Those that have incorporated Islamic fashion into their collections, with veils and fabric-heavy clothes, include Italy’s Dolce & Gabbana, which released a line early this year featuring veils and ankle-length tunics. The Swedish retailer H&M is also carrying Islamic-oriented clothes. Between last year and this one, the likes of Japan’s Uniqlo and Britain’s Marks &Spencer have put out Muslim-styled pieces.

Lima, the consultant, believes there’s a perception that this is an under-tapped fashion niche that’s growing and grossing billions of dollars. “Moreover, Western countries are interacting more and more with people from the Muslim world, the Muslim community around the world is growing, and this creates a demand for fashion to supply this niche,” she says.

The items have appeared in fashion shows, but are also worn in the streets, both by followers and non-followers of Muslim religion. “Some women will wear standalone items because they’re the new trend on catwalks; the kaftan has grown popular in the West, and headscarves are seen and worn by Western women in a more natural way,” the fashion consultant explains.

But she claims the brands’ real targets are Islamic females. “Just like you have your petit or plus size clothes, this is a niche that they are looking to reach,” says Lima. So much so that one of the places where Islamic clothing items are the most widespread is Paris, France, which is home to a very big Islamic community, besides being the world fashion capital, the consultant ponders.

In Brazil, the trend is more timid, but there nonetheless. Ana Paula Lima claims she hasn’t witnessed a strong Muslim influence in the latest fashion shows, the 2016/2017 summer ones held last April. But the collections comprise a few Muslim-inspired units, such as stone-embroidered kaftans and ankle-length dresses. “The kaftans have become a staple of nearly all beachwear shows,” she says.

According to Lima, Brazilian brands tapping into the Muslim style include PatBo embroideries, Adriana Degreas kaftans, and long dresses and closed tunics by Iódice, Paula Raia and Gloria Coelho. “Kaftans grew to be accepted, especially as beachwear, and so did scarves,” she says, also mentioning embroidered party dresses, which are very popular and much appreciated by Arab women.

The consultant notes, however, that Brazilian women are not fans of covering their entire bodies, so the heavier-type tunics did not catch on much. Around the world, Islamic fashion can be translated into kaftans, stone embroidery, higher necklines, and headscarves.

*Translated by Gabriel Pomerancblum

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