Islamic Fashion: Muslims To Be Dispossessed?
International brands’ entry into the Islamic Fashion industry reveals to the public the dynamic of the Islamic economy.
The Islamic Economy is big, very big. It is said to weigh thousands of billions of dollars and is made up of eight sectors (see box at end of article), which are all expanding significantly.
A Dynamic Economy Overlooked in France
This dynamic has reasons to it:
• Muslims are growing in
• Their purchasing power is highly inscreasing
Combine this with the sociological revolution Muslim populations living in non-Muslim countries are undergoing and economic and social changes Muslim countries are experiencing.
People in France don’t realize these facts, even the Muslims. At most, we all know that the Halal food market is huge. However, Islamic fashion doesn’t really mean much, inspite of the profusion of clothing boutiques, especially women’s wear.
Other countries on the other hand, have massively invested in the Islamic fashion business, such as the United Arab Emirates and Dubai at the top, Malaysia, Indonesia and Turkey. Countries, but mainstream brands as well, such as Uniqlo, H&M and recently Dolce & Gabanna, which have launched collections specifically designed for Muslim women.
Global Companies Vs. Small Businesses
The entry of these global companies into this industry is proof that this market is good business. And at the same time, Muslims should make sure they have an adequate understanding of this themselves. In order not to repeat what happened with the Halal food market, which is held in an overwhelming majority by non-Muslims who do not observe in any way the principles that apply to Halal food, and, therefore, fool the Muslim consumers.
— Al-Kanz Consulting (@AlKConsulting) 10 Janvier 2016
Translation: Uniqlo, H&M, Dolce&Gabanna, Hijab is the New Goose That Lays The Golden Egg. Will the Muslims Be Taken Away That Too?
Another important fact: Today, the Islamic Fashion industry is mainly made up of small businesses. In France, most women’s clothing boutiques are held by young entrepreneurs who have engaged into the auto-entrepreneur status, solely relying on self-financing. Indeed, to this date, no bank offers a financial product compliant with Islamic requirements. So this entrepreneurial base remains fragile.
Federate Around Islamic Values
Also, instead of federating around initiatives such as Akhawate Business or Synergy of French Muslim Profesionnals (SPMF) to benefit from what these groupings can offer, those small business owners remain isolated, which in the long run is actually going to hurt their business. Without a quick and efficient wake-up call, lots of these Islamic Fashion boutiques will have a hard time withstanding bigger brands. After Uniqlo, H&M and Dolce & Gabanna, brands like Zara, Cacharel or even Primark may follow.
In order to prevent a disaster, small businesses and consumers must create virtuous circles which will enable entrepreneurs to secure their businesses. In return, they will make ethical commitments (good practice, social entrepreneurship, tackling unemployment and islamophobia, paying Zakah, supporting Muslim education). In this regard, we created the Oummapower section in March 2014.
Let’s keep in mind that what works for the Islamic fashion industry is going to work for any sector of the Islamic economy. If we do not wish to be dispossessed by ruthless capitalist companies who will ignore the ethics at the heart of Islamic entrepreneurship, we need to urgently rethink our businesses in the light of our principles. And not let ourselves hinder by that very French mentality of ‘wait till it comes to you’ instead of ‘go get what you need’.
Let’s just be more Muslim, more Anglo-Saxon and less French, while making our business decisions.
One Economy, Eight Key Sectors
The Islamic Economy market is made up of eight dynamic sectors:
1- Halal food
2- Islamic finance
3- Halal tourism