By Shivani Gosai | Opinions Editor
Macy’s is the first major U.S. clothing retail store to sell hijab and modest clothing for Muslim women. The store has partnered with Verona Collection, an Islamic boutique that specializes in clothing that is both conservative as well as fashionable. The collection is founded by Lisa Vogl, who is a graduate of Macy’s Workshop program which concentrates on helping women create their own businesses. The line launches today on Macy’s website.
As one of the largest retail stores in the U.S., this is a huge step for inclusivity for all women.
“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,” Vogl said in a press release.
Not only is introducing this clothing line a great way to implement the store into a huge, rapidly growing market, but it paves the way for other retailers to follow. The demand for Islamic-styled clothing is consistently growing. According to the latest Global Islamic Economy report, the international Muslim clothing market is expected to be worth $327 billion by 2020.
Macy’s lead on the market will hopefully inspire other brands and retailers to make inclusivity a priority in their upcoming lines. Using fashion to integrate the Muslim population further into society is a way to create a cultural shift away from Islamophobia.
Unfortunately, the Muslim population in the U.S. has been treated with severe prejudice. Today, religious minorities are experiencing some of the highest records of discrimination, according to CAIR’s data on anti-Islamic and anti-Semitic violence in 2017.
The Southern Poverty Law Center reported a 197 percent increase in organized Anti-Muslim hate groups in 2016.
Currently, the state of inclusivity towards Muslims is being negatively influenced by President Donald Trump. In January, President Trump attempted to stop all refugee admissions and ban people from seven Muslim-majority countries. The ban, and Trump’s attitudes towards Muslims, are entirely un-American. Our country is built on the idea of being a melting-pot of immigrants, with each one deserving of an equal chance at happiness and success.
By proper representation, the perception of the Muslim population can be normalized and stereotypes will be broken. Fashion is a great way to begin re-shaping society’s attitude towards Muslims and get rid of dangerous misconceptions.
The introduction of the Verona Collection is empowering the 21st century Muslim woman to be confident and powerful, while keeping them fashionably devoted to their practice.
I’m personally very excited to see an outlet that will normalize the hijab and serve a community of women. While some outsider of the religion see the hijab as something that oppresses, it’s actually the opposite for most women who follow Islam. Muslim women have noted the hijab as being “empowering” or a “reminder for their identity as a Muslim.” It is here to inspire others of respect and dignity.
I hope that other retailers and stores will follow in the footsteps of Macy’s to ultimately make the U.S. a more inclusive place for all. At last, Macy’s is taking the lead in creating an environment that represents diversity and celebrates an underrepresented group of minority women.