The Muslim fashion industry is growing and is expected to grow even further reaching $327 billion by the year 2019. It’s no wonder that over the last few years major fast fashion brands are actually recognizing our needs and representing us- I mean after all we are a large profitable segment that cannot be overlooked.
Some brands like H&M even featured a hijabi Model, while others are reaching out to hijabi influencers. Muslim women have been shopping at major retailers for a while so it is nice to finally be represented. We all got really excited about the campaign lending it a share and talking about it on our social media. But if you ask me, I think we should ditch those big fashion retailers.
Why? You may ask. Well, first, the mainstream fashion industry has reached a critical point. Being the second most polluting industry, it is a major contributor to Climate change. Over 50% of our clothes are made up of synthetic fibers, that are not biodegradable. They stay on the planet for thousands of years and are not breathable either, which means our bodies can not lose the heat and we sweat a whole lot more! Further, each time we put it in the wash they release microparticles that land up in the ocean and eventually find their way to our food chain.
Second, fast fashion means poorly made garments that only last a few wears and are disposable. We don’t feel bad disposing them because it didn’t cost that much. Plus we have the next trend to follow. In the end we end up buying a lot more garments then we need and spending a lot more than what we would have buying a perhaps expensive well made garment that lasts.
Lastly, fast fashion along with cheap clothing means cheap labor. Most of our fast fashion clothes are made in developing countries that have no regulations and often times exploit labor. Prices are kept down artificially at the cost of slave labor.
There is a revolution happening in the mainstream fashion industry and we want to make sure that we too lead the way. The fashion industry is one of the biggest employers of modern day slave labor and it’s latest disaster has claimed the lives of 1,200 garment factory workers in Bangladesh, mostly women. We can no longer stay quiet and ignore this problem.
As the modest fashion industry takes off and veiled Muslim women claim their spot in the industry it is essential that we don’t fall victim to the problems and narrative created by “fast fashion”. As the big box corporations rush to get our attention with their big budgets it is important to support upstart Muslim designers and brands who have not only been catering to our needs but also do it in an ethical, environmentally friendly way. We need to use our collective power to drive a change in the Industry.