New York-based fashion brand DKNY has released a collection of women's wear for Muslims during the Islam's holy month of Ramadan. But the campaign is raising some questions about the spirit of the Islamic holiday.
Designed by two Middle Eastern women who are active in the fashion industry, "the 12-piece capsule collection is conservative with long, flowing dresses and skirts, jumpsuits and pants and long-sleeved and three- quarter length jackets and shirts," International Business Times reported. The stylists, Yada Golsharifi, fashion editor of Styles Magazine, and Tamara Al Gabbani, a fashion designer in Dubai, model the clothes on the campaign's website.
DKNY Ramadan "marks the first-ever regionalized collection and campaign for (DKNY), which has a growing number of locations in the Middle East," Buzzfeed reported. But, as Buzzfeed's Melissa Harrison noted, "Some may question whether DKNY's venture goes against the ideals laid out during Ramadan — like fasting, prayer and a focus on charity."
Sohaib Sultan, Princeton University's Muslim Life coordinator and chaplain, explained that Ramadan is the celebration of the prophet Muhammad receiving the Qur'an from God. "To celebrate this source of eternal guidance, Muslims are prescribed to partake in a fast primarily from eating and drinking from sunrise to sunset every day of the month," he wrote for Time magazine.
Sultan continued, "The discipline is also meant to teach us the invaluable lesson of gratitude to God for the immeasurable blessings and favors with which we have been bestowed. Through deprivation there is greater appreciation for what we have."
Does the focus on charity and gratitude preclude Muslim women from rushing to add DKNY Ramadan pieces to their wardrobe? Bina Shah, a Pakistani writer, doesn't think so, as she explained in a column for The Independent.
"Ramadan may be dedicated to spiritual practice, but Muslims are raised to celebrate it, and to bring a joyous spirit to the entire month," Shah wrote. "Yes, we're encouraged to spend our money on feeding the poor (and) donating to charities. But in Muslim countries, many people buy the entire years' clothes for themselves and for their loved ones (during Ramadan); even this act can accrue blessings because it occurs in such a holy month."
Shah explained that Muslims should seek balance, even during a time centered on giving up some worldly comforts. "As long as one is fulfilling one's religious obligations in Ramadan, there is no harm in buying a beautiful outfit in celebration of the month," she wrote.
However, American Muslims won't have to worry about reconciling shopping with their conscience. The Ramadan collection is only available in stores in the Middle East.
And a sketch from @wheresthefittingroo m of the campaign:
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