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Ramadan and global apparel industry

Retailers have been eyeing occasions and events to increase sales and thereby increase revenues. Shopping has become an essential ingredient throughout the world to celebrate the festival season. Whether it is offering gifts to family and friends or buying new clothes or taking advantage of sales and heavy discounts, everyone has anything to buy on this special day.

Ramadan and global apparel industry
Figure: Muslim fashion will increase to over $368 billion by 2021, according to the ‘State of the Global Islamic Economy’ report. Courtesy: PHF Modest Fashion

Ramadan is the holiest month of Islam when Muslims throughout the world are fasting for thirty days from dawn to evening. It is an inviting opportunity for retailers to expand their business and commercialize the festivities. The grand shopping extravaganza witnesses shoppers making record-breaking sales by purchasing items like electronics, jewelry, automobiles, and clothing.

Recently ‘State of the Global Islamic Economy’ reported Muslim fashion will increase to over $368 billion by 2021 which would be 51% increase from last four years. As a result, some fashion companies and brands are increasingly recognizing the scale of opportunity that could stem from better connecting with such a prosperous consumer segment.

With a growing global Muslim population – a rise from 1.7 billion in 2014 to 2.2 billion by 2030, brands would do well to cater to this all important demographic.

According to AMCC (American Muslim Consumer Consortium), the spending power of Muslims in America is expected to be more than $ 100 billion and many brands are starting to recognize a potential market for their clothing.

According to Criteo, a global leader in commerce marketing, the retail spikes begin as early as two weeks before the Holy month, which last year saw a 29 percent increase in Southeast Asia and 36 percent increase in the Middle East in comparison to non-Ramadan times of the year.

In the current global world, the most expanded fashion of Muslim is known as “Modest Fashion. Brands are realizing modest fashion is a profitable business, and not just during Holy month. According State of the Global Islamic Economy Report, luxury brands including Dolce & Gabbana, Burberry, and even Uniqlo are entering the modest fashion market with items such as climate-adapting Hijabs.

Global retail behemoths such as Walmart and DKNY are offering Ramadan collections. Even H&M made their movement in modest fashion by selecting Mariah Idriss as a first hijab-wearing model. The fashion chain Mango promoted Ramadan collections and designers such as Oscar de la Renta and Tommy Hilfiger are testing the market. Dolce & Gabbana launched a collection of abayas, or loose robes, and hijabs.

Nike, for example, released an unprecedented ‘Pro-Hijab’ marketing campaign in the beginning of 2017 that not only raised awareness of Muslim women athletes but also marked Nike’s shift toward the Middle East for its market expansion.

Brands are showing less fear of association with ‘something Islamic’ and producing more market-right products. In February, London hosted its first-ever Modest Fashion Week, featuring more than 40 labels showcasing styles that ranged from maxi dresses to hijabs.

Though Muslim fashion is praised by the global apparel industry there is also a different view of this point. Some fashion experts think that if fashion wants to expand its market to include groups identified initially on religious grounds, it has to be attuned to the diversity within these groups. If fashion brands segment Muslim consumers – or any religious consumer – it increases the risk of alienating the very consumers they’re attempting to include.

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