The Japanese giant joins the diversity movement in the industry with the launch of its first line of hijabs in the UK
Hijabs are slowly being introduced in the fashion scene - with bloggers, Barbies and brands joining the push for increased diversity.
Amid a continued growth in retail across much the Arab world, Uniqlo is the latest to launch a hijab line.
The Japanese clothing giant was due to land stores with its second range of head scarves and tunics from March 18, although it is the first time company will offer them for sale in the UK.
Last year it launched its first line in Asia, seen as one of the first times a major high street store has targeted the Muslim market.
Both collections are designed by British creative and blogger Hana Tajima, who converted to Islam at 17 and launched her own clothing line of stylish Muslim wear.
“We wanted to create a collection for women who appreciate modesty as a lifestyle, as well as a broader international audience. It is relaxed, and can be mixed and matched to enhance style,” she said.
Taku Morikawa, chief executive at Uniqlo Malaysia, said: “The Hana Tajima collection is a further extension of our LifeWear concept in making fashionable, high-quality products for anyone, anywhere, to enhance lifestyles.
“We worked with Hana to develop something with international appeal, while maintaining the concept of modest clothing. The result is not only stylish, but comfortable.”
“Our second collaboration with Hana this spring/summer season will introduce essential pieces that reflect her style for modest fashion while combining our LifeWear concept in which is to focus on enhancing the wearer’s lifestyle,” a Uniqlo spokesperson said.
A number of other brands are also seeking to offer more clothing for the Muslim women.
Luxury online retailers including Net-A-Porter now offer a “Ramadan Edit” as the annual period of fasting observed within Islam gains greater recognition in the industry.
H&M enlisted its first hijab-wearing model last year, featuring 23-year-old Mariah Idrissi, discovered via Instragam, in its “Close the Loop” video campaign, which taps into a diverse group of models.
“Our style, in a way, hasn't really mattered, so it's amazing that a brand that is big has recognised the way we wear hijab,” she told Fusion.
Dolce & Gabbana is also set to launch a line of abayas and scarves in its signature colourful prints by October 2016. Some bear the Italian label’s staples, including flowers, fruits and polka dots - all in silk, satin and lace. However, Muslim British designer and blogger Dina Torkia disagrees with it.
“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 lacy, embroidered traditional abayas and matching scarves. Something I’ve grown up with and a look that every muslim woman is all too familiar with,” she wrote on her blog.
Like plus-size and transgender bloggers and vloggers, Muslim influencers are also diversifying the fashion field. Many with fashion degrees and experience, have taken their approach to their websites.
British designer and blogger Dina Torkia
Summer Albarcha, American blogger
Haute Hijab, blog
A growing number of luxury and high- treet shops are making moves to target the Muslim market.
Heba Jay, Arab-American blogger
Basma K, British designer and blogger
And with Mattel giving the iconic Barbie doll a transformation by making it in different skin tones and body types, Haneefa Adam, 24, a medical science student from Nigeria, created Hijarbie, a Barbie wearing a hijab.
The doll has its own Instagram account, sharing with more than 55,000 followers pictures in full-length dresses, veils and flowing abayas.
“I thought I had not seen Barbie dressed in a hijab before so I decided to open an Instagram account and dressed Barbie up in the clothes that I made. I thought it was really important for a doll to be dressed like how I would be, “ she told CNN.
She reportedly receives requests from around the world to buy the “modest dolls”.