US fashion labels target under-served Muslim market


While some American Muslims have their reservations, others are excited that established labels are taking an interest in the community.

Tommy Hilfiger and DKNY are just a few recognisable name brands to offer what they describe as Ramadan collections, with a few US designers now offering specific ranges in the Middle East during this holy month.

But some Muslims in the US have reservations about brands marketing these designs as Ramadan fashion. “Ramadan itself represents something so much different and pulls away a little bit from the desire of shopping and shopping a little too much,” said Mariana Aguilera Allam, a fashion writer.

However many Muslim Americans see this attention from the big designers as a positive step. American labels may be pushing so-called Ramadan fashion overseas, but Muslim designers say there is a demand for it in the United States too. They say the American Muslim population is a demographic that has been largely untouched.

And with the American Muslim Consumer Consortium estimating the spending power of American Muslims to be around US$100 billion, many feel brands are missing out on a clear opportunity.

“We don’t want to go overboard and spend a couple thousand dollars for one outfit like they do in the Middle East,” said Sabiha Ansari, co-founder, American Muslim Consumer Consortium. “That’s what these brands are targeting right now. What we’re after is a little more reasonably priced.”

This gap in the US market is why Umiyan Muedin set up her Turkish-inspired fashion range Guzel in 2013. Travelling back to Turkey several times a year for inspiration she said the Turkish styles are not just popular with Muslim Americans.

“You don’t have to wear a headscarf solely on your head,” she said. “You can wear it as a neck piece, as a regular scarf. It can give a really nice touch to an outfit.” Now as many Muslim Americans welcome this latest interest from US brands they hope this momentum continues long after Ramadan ends.