Former YSL mogul criticises fashion brands eyeing the Muslim market

Over the years several brands such as Uniqlo, D&G, Mango and H&M have made a move into Islamic fashion. However,  Pierre Bergé, former partner of Yves Saint Laurent, thinks otherwise.

In a recent interview with French radio station Europe 1, last Wednesday, he said fashion retailers are only in it for the money and declared: “Renounce the money and have some principles.”

In a stern comment made on French radio station Europe 1, which was later picked up by The Guardian, he said:

“Creators should have nothing to do with Islamic fashion. Designers are there to make women more beautiful, to give them their freedom, not to collaborate with this dictatorship which imposes this abominable thing by which we hide women and make them live a hidden life."

Most recently in Asia,  Uniqlo’s collaboration with designer and internet personality Hana Tajima made waves in the fashion scene. During last year's Singapore Fashion Week, e-retailer Zalora too exclusively launched clothing pieces catered to Muslim women.

It is expected that over the years, more global brands are tailoring their approach to reach the growing market as Muslim consumers are making up a forth of the world’s population; comprising of 1.8 billion people, as reported by Marketing late last year.

During an earlier interview, Harriet Robertson, director, Flamingo Group, said that the growing number of young Muslims with high spending power is too irresistible to brands looking to tap into this growing market.

“There is a huge opportunity for brands to forge wider and deeper connections.  It will take some time for this to happen so I think that the focus on the Muslim consumer is a marketing trend that is here to stay,” she said.

According to Q Akashah, executive director at Islamic branding consultancy OgilvyNoor, as the Muslim consumer segment continues to grow, brands are becoming more pro-active in speaking with these consumers directly, instead of taking the ‘safer’ routes of focusing on being ‘ethical’, ‘green’ and ‘socially responsible’ to avoid alienating other consumers.”

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