Macy’s new Muslim clothing line launches to accolades and anger
Macy’s is introducing a line of women’s apparel online specifically for Muslim women, becoming the first U.S. department store to sell hijabs.
The collection of maxi dresses, ankle-length cardigans and hand-dyed hijabs called the Verona Collection was founded by Lisa Vogl, a fashion photographer and convert to Islam who graduated from Macy’s development program for minority- and women-owned businesses. Ms. Vogl launched the brand after finding it hard to find “fashionable and modest clothing” after her conversion.
“Verona Collection is more than a clothing brand. It’s a platform for a community of women to express their personal identity and embrace fashion that makes them feel confident on the inside and outside,” she said in a press release.
The launch comes as Uniqlo, H&M and some fashion houses are viewing young Muslim women as a lucrative opportunity. Thomson Reuters projected that Muslim consumers would spend $368 billion on fashion by 2021. Nike last year debuted a hijab designed for female Muslim athletes and American Eagle began selling denim hijabs with receiving.
In November, Mattel announced it would introduce a hijab Barbie modeled after Muslim Olympic fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad. L’Oreal recently hired Amena Khan, a Muslim beauty blogger, as its first model to wear a hijab.
Such moves have earned praise for inclusivity and reaching out to the needs of minority communities. Some have also touted the appeal of less revealing, fashionable options for non-Muslim women as well.
But the decisions have also been criticized by conservatives and women’s rights activists who believe the hijab, in particular, promotes an oppressive culture. Recent news reports have shown Iranian women publicly removing their hijabs in protest of a law that compels them to wear headscarves.
Social media posts calling for a boycott of Macy’s could be found across social media as news of the launch arrived in early February, as well as praise.
The collection will be sold online starting February 15.
- The Workshop at Macy’s Alumni Verona Collection Launches on Macys.com in February – Macy’s/Business Wire
- Essentials in Macy’s new fashion line aimed at Muslim women – The Washington Post
- Macy’s Courts Muslims With New Hijab Brand – The New York Times
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Is selling Muslim fashion a win-win for retailers or is it too controversial? How would you weigh the inherent risks?