DESIGNER ABAYAS, WHAT’S NEW?

by Thursday, January 7, 2016

It’s been circulating ALL of my social media platform feeds ALL week, the news that Dolce & Gabbana’s line of abayas and scarves is set to release October 2016, so it’s only polite for me to address it I suppose!

I feel like I should be happy, ecstatic even, perhaps eternally grateful? That’s what seems to be the general reaction to this news so far. But, I can’t help but feel incredibly underwhelmed, possibly even a tiny bit insulted by the collection. I’ve dreamed the day a major design house would officially recognise us, hijab clad muslim women and finally ‘cater’ to us. But my dream wasn’t resulting in a line of lacey, embroidered traditional abayas and matching scarves. Something I’ve grown up with and a look that every muslim woman is all too familiar with. Something that the local ‘abayas r us’ in Brummy might have. Or if you fancy something a little more luxury, ‘abaya gold’ in Dubai would suffice. I dreamed of being able to look at signature gowns on the runway and imagine myself in one, hijab and all. I dreamed of being included in the mainstream of haute couture & whilst D&G have managed to recognise us with this collection, they’ve also managed to exclude us.

Fashion conscious Muslim women in the form of bloggers, designers & stylists have been taking centre stage for a good few years showing the world that modesty & style can coincide with faith. With barely a nod of applaud or recognition, until D&G fancies putting their stamp all over a very traditional middle eastern style & claim it’s originality.

So Thank you, but no thank you.

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82 Responses
  • Marigold
    January 7, 2016

    I saw these in the paper and thought sadly, they’re just trying to make a quick buck!

  • Shaima
    January 7, 2016

    I absolutely agree Dina!

  • Bessma
    January 7, 2016

    Yes, thank you, exactly. Want to add more but no point cause.. Exactly! My insta feed (and closet) are full of abayas like those. Of all shapes and colors. And yes! Make regular clothes more wearable for us! And finally… Exactly!!

  • Aliya
    January 7, 2016

    Yessssss finally a blogpost summing up everything I thought about the collection!

  • Yasmin K
    January 7, 2016

    That’s quite an interesting perspective. When I first saw the line being introduced I couldn’t help but feel quite excited, but actually looking at the collection… underwhelmed is just the perfect description of how I felt; I just couldn’t describe why. This post has just hit the nail on the head!

  • Maryam
    January 7, 2016

    I honestly did not give these abayas a second glance as they looked as though they were nothing new to the ones I usually see being advertised by random Instagram sellers. I don’t personally wear a hijab but if I see a particularly creative abaya I will buy one to throw over my jeans as a general cover up. These abayas from D&G look like nothing you would expect from them but rather like a uniform. It’s all a money making scam but how many wealthy middle eastern women will actually think twice? Hmm

  • Quanita
    January 7, 2016

    Absolutely agree!

  • Aminah
    January 7, 2016

    You said the words straight out of my mouth

  • Faeeza
    January 7, 2016

    I really like them

    • Lori
      January 8, 2016

      Asalaamu alaikum.

      I’m only too grateful to learn a nod for modesty has been given by a major fashion house that has the power to influence many positively across the world. Many worthy designers, such as the lovely Dina, can continue to popularise abaya fashions by putting their own original designs forward for the needy masses. Women of any background and/or faith system can be made to feel regal in an abaya. It’s excellent to promote abaya couture! And we know Dina’s designs will be desired also! The many climate- and culture-influences for abaya fabric and design, offer endless possibilities! I am excited at the prospect of all new abaya fashion collections.

  • Mariam Raza
    January 7, 2016

    I think these are absolutely timeless pieces and the designs are so intricately woven. I am actually going on holiday to Turkey and Dubai very soon and am looking for some abayas and i think ive found some that i love here! Great job Dina keep it up! x

  • Rabia Nur Türkoğlu
    January 7, 2016

    So beuatiful .. I think that the whole world will speak about this wonderful idea.. sorry because of my english 😀

  • Siri2Siri
    January 7, 2016

    Agreed! 100%. I have been tagged atleast a dozen times on my FB pertaining to this article!

    As a designer it is a slap in my face! I have been in the trenches for years as a designer and NOW D&G comes on the scene and to tell Muslim women what is fashionable and HOW to be modest?? Yeah miss me with that!

    As a Muslimah and women of color, this look does not appeal to me. It’s not practical. As I have stated before on oh so many tags, in one season D&G knows the muslimah and what she likes to wear? We are so diverse in our culture and careers that it would take eons for these “Designer Brands” to understand who we are as Muslimahs! If they did a little more research the would know that more and more muslimahs are moving away from the “Traditional” abaya.

    So Um yeah I’m not impressed! I will continue to sew/sale and wear my owne clothes!

    There are awesome designers in the world creating beautiful practical elegant “Islamic” complient garments! WE should support the Muslim designer’s of the world.

    #JustmyTwocents

    Shareefa Carrion
    Siri2Siri

  • Nassima
    January 7, 2016

    THANK YOU! I’m so glad you reacted so quickly and so accurately! Yes Islam is not exclusively in the Middle East, and a great majority of Muslim women don’t want to wear traditional clothes…I completely agree with you.
    😘

  • Faz
    January 7, 2016

    Generally I’m not one to post of things like this or any of your YouTube videos but I thought this needed to be said. Fact of the matter is this should have been taken with a pinch of salt if you don’t like it, as you, I or anyone else would of done if they had just seen for example, a top in Selfridges by another high end brand that they didn’t like not publicised the negativity in a blog post…. That’s when rather than promoting the acknowledgment in western brands of Abayas (whether it’s needed or not is not the question) you and others show them that they shouldn’t have come out of their comfort zone. I’m sure your first designs or other designers first take on any fashion concept it doesn’t have to be faith related, were not the “best creation ever” but you received support and probably told to keep trying and that’s precisely what should have been the case here positive reinforcement not negative irregardless of the name behind them. Everyone’s taste is different and you should probably think to yourself would you have been so critical if it wasn’t a well known brand? (Publicly) No, because you’d have been seen as rude and unsupportive and self observed. I do think you should remember that sometimes it’s best to sit back and think about a situation first before posting and think it’s okay because its your blog post but not when you hold influence on other impressionable younger girls who will then reiterate this view and again create a vicious cycle that’s not needed especially in this current climate. I have tried to be quite honest and contructive so I do post to you to not take it as a rude premise as I do like your videos and may allah swt do whatever is for your benerment inshallah but it’s times when a certain sense of maturity and reflection is needed that’s all which I’m sure you’ll come to realise.

    • lisa
      January 8, 2016

      I totally agree with you. 👏

  • Mariam Raza
    January 7, 2016

    Okay i didnt read your bit at the top and got excited that youve designed them, however i do agree that d&g should not have claimed it as their originality and atleast give the credits to some of the famous muslim bloggers or designers who actually came up with these intially!

    • Hello
      January 9, 2016

      Which particular muslim bloggers and designers came up with these initially?

  • Marwa
    January 7, 2016

    I agree, too little too late & i will not forget their cruel comments about IVF children.

  • Viewer
    January 7, 2016

    You never have anything nice to say. Even when the fashion industry is “catering” to a Muslim woman’s needs, you people will always look for criticism. Even though it has Lacey designs on it it covers doesn’t it? At be the transparent materials won’t cover much but again – isn’t that where you don’t have to look similar to each other and utilise the differences in wearing something fully covered underneath, when wearing the see through ones? Gosh. Show some appreciation. Not everyone wants to buy your products. Be happy that DG at least considered your needs.

    • MyTwoPennies
      January 7, 2016

      I think

    • Observer
      January 8, 2016

      Did you read the post properly? Her point was that D&G have not created any thing exclusive for Muslim woman their designs can already be found in the Middle East (I am living here and should know). There is no originality to their collection, however because of their ‘brand’ they will take the credit from small, unknown designers and make tons of money out of it.

    • Mytwopennies
      January 9, 2016

      Why are comments that are not threatening or vulgar disappearing?

  • Anisa
    January 7, 2016

    Honestly, I completely agree. I feel that out of all fashion designer names, I’m a little disappointed that it was D&G to be the first to “pioneer”. But lets face it, they didn’t pioneer it, there are many under-rated fashion designers (like yourself) who have been doing this for a longer time. It’s just that they’re mainstream and therefore get to take the credit?

    Even then, Islam has always encouraged giving to charity and it’s inevitable this high end brand will have it’s high end price tag on these abayas. Which is why I feel that it was the wrong brand to gain such attention for designing “modest” clothing. That being said, ever since the rise of hijabi bloggers, I have noticed a larger range of “halal” clothing and theres nothing more pleasing that there are more than just skinny jeans available in shops! It was going well when H&M showcased a hijabi in their advert, and then Nadiya winning british bake off. Us hijabis were getting recognition as muslim women. I feel that we shouldn’t be defined by our clothes.

    I don’t even want to imagine any stigma that arises when girls get competitive about where their hijab is from when you probably won’t be able to tell the difference between a £1 scarf from a “boutique” store on brick lane will look the same as their scarves. l o l.

  • Sumayya Golam
    January 7, 2016

    I think this is a great idea, I would love to see abayas on runway and hopefully one day even non-Muslims would consider it as a fashion trend haha, anyways I think this is going to be amazing and just having different beautiful kinds of abayas is just great

  • Safia Dockrat
    January 7, 2016

    I completely agree with this! I think all it is, is simply a lucrative business venture. For wealthy Arabs who can happily spend on a more haute couture version of their traditional approach to hijab. The biggest issue to me is for Muslim women to believe that this is anything more than that. It is most definitely not some sort of acceptance of Islam or the idea of modest-dress. It’s not an apology for singling out women with head scarves all over the world and legislation that aims to strip women of their basic right to dress as they choose and believe what they want. It’s simply a famous fashion house seeing a gap in the market and taking it.

  • Nayla
    January 7, 2016

    It’s so tricky. They target the wealthy GCC region where wearing abaya is a traditional statement of belonging. They smelled the money and ran with it. This has nothing to do with honoring the hijabi as such nor what the average hijabi stands for.

  • nazish
    January 7, 2016

    I love your they are amazing I’m a 13 year old and I think their stunning I would defiantly buy them love 💙 ❤💙💘💋💘

  • salma
    January 7, 2016

    Completely agree with you Dina, this type of acknowledgement of Muslim women and their traditional clothing is insulting. The introduction of this type of clothing line allows them to take ownership of these outfits when really it’s Muslim women from across the globe that should be given recognition and credit for proudly wearing abayas over the years x

  • Fatma Arslan
    January 7, 2016

    Cheesy marketing for super rich Saudis and Emiratis only. Extremely insulting. What’s next? A collection for the concubines of the Imperial Harems across the Middle East? or D&G hammam towels and qabqabs maybe?

  • Maha
    January 7, 2016

    dang, i never thought about it like that, but you are so right. there’s nothing special or innovative about these designs. they’ve literally taken clothes that have been sold by muslimah-owned fashion companies like inayah for years and slapped the D&G brand on them to make it seem fashion-forward.

  • DunyaaDelusion
    January 7, 2016

    I agree with you Dina BUT these D&G abayas are most probably aimed at the middle and upper class Arab women in the Gulf. Having lived in the Gulf for many years I’ve seen these types of Abayas being sold in small local shops but I know the women there would love these D&G abayas purely because of the name on them.

  • Anna Stefanova
    January 7, 2016

    I totaly agree. The designs look like stuff i already seen on my feed on instagram n muslimah websites. And i agree ,better make the clothes they design more suitable for us,rather than just “copying” from already established trend and state is a “new” thing.

  • Mashal Sarfraz
    January 7, 2016

    Hi Dina,

    I absolutely agree with your opinion. As soon as I saw some of the Abaya designs, I was actually very much disappointed. Come to think if it, it’s just getting hyped due to the big name of ‘D&G”. Even though regional designers in Middle East carry far better abaya lines. I wish D&G presented the real Muslim women as you say the bloggers/vloggers instead of just creating another profitable market.

  • R
    January 7, 2016

    They are pretty. And its a start to being recognised in the fashion world. If it was pants or something people would say its not in accordance with the shariah, showing body shape, or something or the other, but they would have a problem. Why do we always have to criticise everything?

  • Rosa
    January 7, 2016

    I do agree with the fact they are not respecting hijab and the concept; but rather, seeing a gap in the high-end designer market and looking at it as a chance to make some money.

  • Fred
    January 8, 2016

    Though i do agree with everything you have said, im thinking maybe…just maybe… they wanted to create an abaya line so that they could feel included, rather than making muslims feel included for once? Either way i don’t really like the designs :/

  • Betty
    January 8, 2016

    I think its great then again its like whaaaaa . I already get so many questions on what brand Im wearing the last thing i wanna worry about is if my abaya is Dolce when Im at friday prayer. We all have that one person thats ALL ABOUT BRANDS !

  • Neda
    January 8, 2016

    In my opinion, I see it as this big time corporation trying to change the wave of Muslim (abaya) attire. Look how sheer and see through some of the Abayas are, and they have too flashy prints. This isn’t Islamic, and a Abaya attire should be Islamic. Im not a religious person, but I know enough about my religion to know that abaya is a form of modesty and honestly shouldn’t be a part of fashion in the way that it’s being portrayed. I understand the girls in the photos are modeling but it’s set out to be so glamorous and just out there and I truly don’t believe that is is the meaning of abaya. What they are doing is changing the mindsets of Muslim females worldwide and making it “acceptable” for a garment like this to be a abaya. This is just my opinion.

  • Ina
    January 8, 2016

    Why are Muslim women and designers suddenly angry when the d&g abaya collection came out? Relax…d&g’s collection is high end. Majority won’t be able to afford them anyways. Catering to Muslim women? It’s as if only Muslim designers can design abayas.

  • myinspirationlogbook
    January 8, 2016

    Wauw! It’s beautiful!

  • Fatima K.
    January 8, 2016

    Assalamualaikum!
    To be honest, i don’t think that D&G want us to be grateful for their collection. I think the problem comes from our people : we do not know what we want. Haute Couture brands don’t do the abayas = they don’t regognise us. Brands start with not-so-exclusive pieces = we feel insulted. Brands start off with excusive/new design pieces = they do not respect our culture. One good point : yes they want money and they know that they will get it from the Gulf… But don’t forget that the whole fashion industry is just a business.

  • Aisha
    January 8, 2016

    I completely agree with you Dina…I bet they are just doing this because they “think” those fancy Muslims who wear abaya would buy it just because it is branded ad D&G …and their idea of abaya is totally wrong…its basicly lace and very thin materials stuck together …you can still see what’s inside the abayas and it shows the body shape from inside…they should know what an abaya is and then make it not just look at some abaya and make it as a haram type abaya

  • Habiba
    January 8, 2016

    YAAASSSS!!! Finally someone addresses how fucked up this all is!! Muslim women have been doing this for years with zero credit or recognition from the mainstream Western fashion and then D&J comes along and their called groundbreaking!!??? Not to mention that when we wear abayas we’re suspected of extremism but their designs are “edgy”? That’s cultural appropriation 101! Keep doing what your doing Dina!!!

  • Samira
    January 8, 2016

    I am not one to be in the know of the fashion industry but If understand one thing about business is that there are two type of businesses one makes products for their customers much like what Dina Tokio does, making her products for muslimahs in mind. The other makes products and finds customers much like what D and G, H and M and other corporations do which is to make products and find customers for who will buy them. The thing is they are out of tune with what Muslim woman want, our religious constrains ext. Ultimatly we are the ones who have to decide who we will support.

    http://www.themuslimahguide.com

  • Zzzzzz
    January 8, 2016

    Hi Dinaaa,

    I agree with what you’ve said. I think it’s sad that so many Muslim women like yourself who are trying to create a platform to show people how modesty and fashion can work together are not recognised; yet we should be grateful that the fashion industry has supposedly finally catered to our needs. I think it has been overrated and quite frankly, capitalism has worked its way into the fashion industry.

    Also, it’s funny how all of a sudden it’s been made into something fashionable and acceptable yet in daily life when a woman wishes to wear an abaya and hijab, she is labelled as oppressed and faces funny looks and racist abuse. I am not impressed with this collection as such tbh, yes the thought behind it is nice but no thanks. I don’t buy into capitalism. This is clearly tailored for the elite and rich, but then isn’t everything these days. Accept our religion and way of life before creating clothes for us thanks D&G x

  • Anela Khan
    January 8, 2016

    I’m sorry Dina but I actually love the new D&G abaya collection and I could see myself wearing anyone of them except for the floral one. I think it’s refreshing to see a big designer actually cater modest clothing for the Muslim woman. I’m mean most of the women in the Middle East are wearing the designer brands under their abayas and now they get to wear it on the outer. I really don’t think it’s an insult at all to any of our great muslim designers, as they’ve got some great designs that I would buy regardless of them being a brand. Bottom line is if I like the design I would wear it. Continue doing what you are doing, you’ve got so much talent! Love you lots xx

    • Zara
      January 9, 2016

      A world renowned brand and a world leader in fashion in the western world, designing Abayas,
      is nothing but positive news for the Muslim woman!
      They are recognising and promoting the modest dress that a Muslima wears. With all the negative coverage Muslims get these days in the media, this is a ray of sunshine.
      Well done D&G.. In’sha’Allah more renowned world brands to follow suit.

      • Zara
        January 9, 2016

        Yes totally agree! It’s all but positive.

    • Jesin
      January 11, 2016

      Absolutely agree about now being able to wear it on the outer.

  • Sue
    January 8, 2016

    I couldn’t agree more Dina,someone of us may feel privileged that such a high end designer has finally made an attempt to ‘stamp on’ muslim modest wear, but unfortunately failed miserably at it. Their design concept is not even up to date, I don’t know where there market research went. In all honesty, it is not something I would wear, because it lacks authenticity and simplicity. The lace is over rated and has been in the scene for couple of years now.

  • Ameena
    January 9, 2016

    To be honest, there are people making comments above about how Dina dresses in skinny jeans and in a fashion conscious way but then they carry talking about how this D&G campaign is just fashion – :s . I mean at the end of the day the fashion world and it’s designers are still very male dominated so really these abayas were designed by males who are basically still telling us how they want women to look… in abaya or not! Jus saying….. p.s. I love fashion and all things creative.

  • K.A
    January 9, 2016

    Love this post! x

  • M Z
    January 9, 2016

    100% agree with you Dina. :))))) all the best

  • Steph
    January 9, 2016

    I can understand where you are coming from. I am an American Muslim revert, and it is difficult for me to find a style that suits me and is modest. It seems like many people think Islam means Middle Eastern, but that’s not my culture. Although I think these are beautiful, I feel like I would be an imposter of someone else’s culture. That’s why I have loved discovering your YouTube channel and Instagram account. I have a vision for how I can pull off hijab and still be me. Thanks!

  • NotAnExpert
    January 9, 2016

    D&G had no intention whatsoever to revolutionise the abaya. This range is to make money. Simple. Business first, fashion second. The D&G marketing gurus sitting in their plush offices know all too well that very rich Middle eastern women with infinite bank balances will clear the racks as soon as this collection is released. Let’s not be fooled into thinking this has anything to do with fashion and catering to the Muslim woman. From a business perspective, I’m surprised they have waited this long to cash in to be honest.

  • Zara
    January 9, 2016

    At last, the Muslima attire is being acknowledged, albeit not completely modest designs, but it’s giving a platform of acceptance and inclusivity of the Islamic apparel in the fashion world.
    We need to remember that these big fashion houses are mainstream forefront leaders of fashion and to have them put their label on it and endorse it, is a ray of sunshine and a positive move in the right direction, with hopefully more big designers to follow suit.

    • Hello
      January 11, 2016

      Absolutely agree! Good to see some positivity. It’s a shame that this has been turned into such a negative thing by our very own muslimahs. Regardless of their intentions for releasing the line, we should be embracing it. A fashion powerhouse is drawing attention to something we have been saying for years… And as you say, this will hopefully pave the other for other designers to follow suit – and ideally for smaller Muslims designers for be recognised in mainstream fashion. It’d be silly of us to say ‘thanks, but no thanks’.

      • Jesin
        January 11, 2016

        Absolutely agree! Spot on!

  • Hijabi_in_london
    January 9, 2016

    Totally agree Dina.
    When I first saw it I felt a sudden overwhelm of sadness. Couldn’t put my finger on it.
    👆🏼 explains it. 😞

  • Mariam Ebrahim
    January 10, 2016

    I completely agree Dina, this is a just a business move to cash in on all bloggers, such as yourself ,hardwork!!!
    All your efforts trying to inspire and envoke the beauty of being covered in women worldwide, and then they produce a line which looks like they just went into nearest mod mozy store n then did a replica in expensive material.
    They could’ve put in more effort, not exactly haute couture 🙈
    Anyhoo, don’t let it bug u out too much, Allah SWT Provides Rizik, n HE Knows all the good u do! May ur business be blessed abundantly inshallah Ameen!

  • Lilly
    January 12, 2016

    So true! Amazing points as always dina!

  • daisy
    January 13, 2016

    first -well written as usual
    second-100% agree with you
    as a non-Muslim who is interested in fashion, ive gotten so much inspiration from hijabis like yourself and I occasionally “try” to rock a urban. you really are a breath of fresh air and a reflection of modern day fashion for Muslim women. its a shame big designers don’t do their research on their target market.

    I look forward to seeing more of your work
    maybe you can teach erm a thing or two 😉

  • Aaliya Zaman
    January 15, 2016

    I agree with Dina, D&G has started this line only to gain business and money as they earn millions from here the GCC countries where brand is everything, they know their market so its less about acknowledging Muslim culture

  • Mariam
    January 16, 2016

    I love you Dina, i really do. But this once I am failing to agree with what you said there. I think with all the negativity directed at us Muslims from the Western world, the fact that D&G released an Abaya collection (whatever their motives), feels like a little bit of positivity. That maybe not everyone hates us. Many analysts have also said that they are only doing this because of the huge market the Middle East presents – so it’s obviously about the money for them and nothing else.
    Also, it isn’t the first time they have created a whole collection for a particular niche, they made a Mexican collection recently and i think a japanese collection too – So i feel, as Muslims we really shouldn’t take it personally. I am not saying you are wrong, or that you shouldn’t have posted what you did (It’s your blog), but I just don’t agree with your point of view on this one.
    Otherwise I watch every video you post and read your blog whenever I can – I’m a huge fan…
    Much Love xx

  • Maitha
    February 12, 2016

    Nothing original in these designs, in my city abaya trends change almost every 3 months or so, and what I see in these pictures are abaya trends from 3-4 years ago? and they don’t look like high quality abayas like the ones I see from local designers in my area ( I bet they are a lot cheaper than the Dolce and Gabbana ones). I applaud them for considering us but I think they should keep up with the market, do a little more research and be original, cuz god knows what I’m seeing doesn’t look original.
    But the question is: Should I buy a Dolce and Gabbana abaya just out of support to encourage them and other main brands to consider making clothing lines for hijabis? maybe showing some support will encourage Dolce and Gabbana to do better next time?

  • KulsoomKhan
    February 13, 2016

    well these designs are very common to Arab world. Honestly I’ve purchased many beautiful yet elegant styles from Dubai and Jeddah yet not expensive. I bought one in 90 riyals which is 17 British Pounds, and its fabric is to die for. Its good attempt by this brand to bought some Haijabi fashion into this world but lets see to what extent they’ll be able steal the show :)

  • Arez
    April 5, 2016

    My first reaction was to agree with you 100%. However perhaps the collection makes sense in the context of the line’s over all retro theme? It seems that for years now, most of their pieces have been traditional/ retro/ classic styles with varying amounts of their own bells and whistles added on.
    Unless these are literally carbon copies of what is already available.. I dont know. I personally haven’t seen any just like these online, but I don’t shop for abayas very often. Just every once in awhile from the first couple pages of what comes up on a Google search.

  • Vela
    July 14, 2016

    Finally an honest blog post. Thank You very much for bringing light on this topic. :)

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