European fashion brands are seeking to profit from the rising demand for Islamic clothing.
Europe: Sharia-Compliant Fashion Goes Mainstream
Soeren Kern | Gatestone Institute | April 13, 2016
The decision by a British department store to include Sharia-compliant bathing suits in its summer swimwear collection has ignited a debate over the “mainstreaming” of Islamic fashion in Europe.
Marks & Spencer, the iconic British retail chain, is now marketing the burkini, a full-length swimsuit ostensibly designed to protect the modesty of Muslim women.
Supporters of the move say it “liberates” Muslim women in Europe by giving them the choice to wear whatever they want. Detractors argue the exact opposite: they say the burkini “enslaves” Muslim women, many of whom are facing mounting pressure to submit to Islamic dress codes, even though they are citizens of secular European states.
Viewed more broadly, a growing number of European fashion companies are seeking to profit from the rising demand for Islamic clothing. Business is business, they say. But critics argue that by jumping on the Muslim fashion bandwagon, those companies are encouraging the visible public expression of Islam in Europe — and promoting Muslim separateness rather than integration.