DKNY releases Islam-inspired 'Ramadan' collection

Yalda Golsharifi wearing a maxi-dress from the DKNY 'Ramadan collection.' (via Instagram)

In the same week the European Court of Human Rights upheld France’s ban on burqas and niqabs, full body coverings and face veils worn by Muslim women, DKNY released their Islam-inspired ‘Ramadan collection.’

The collection was styled by two Middle Eastern Muslim women in the fashion industry. Yalda Golsharifi is the fashion editor of Styles magazine. Tamara Al Gabbani is a fashion designer in Dubai. The result of the religion-based capsule is a collection of flowing, tea-to-floor length dresses and skirts, coolly loose separates, tops with modest necklines and garments with added slips so as to not reveal limbs in the light. One gorgeous, black-and-white A-line graphic print maxi skirt has a modified version of the thigh-high slit trend, with a split starting just below the knee

DKNY launched the collection on June 30. The brand took the collection beyond just fashion by asking Golsharifi and Al Gabbani, both whom celebrate Ramadan, their favorite things about the sacred month of fasting and prayer.

“I love the food, the gatherings and staying up late,” said Golsharifi about Ramadan. Al Gabbani, on the other hand, loves “volunteering to aid the needy” during the holy month.

Ramadan, an annual event that began this year on June 29 in North America and ends with the Eid al-Fitr holiday on July 29, is the ninth month on the Muslim calendar. Ramadan observers don’t eat or drink from sunrise until sundown. This period of spiritual reflection is intended for prayer, charity and purity, thereby drawing Muslims closer to Allah. Not just food, observers are expected to abstain from other impure activities like cursing.

Though the collection was created and debuted by a major fashion retailer based in New York City, Muslim journalist Bina Shah does not feel the brand is cynically capitalizing on Ramadan. “If you think that,” she wrote in a column for the Independent, a liberal British publication, “you’ve clearly never been to Pakistan, where I live.” There, said Shah, using Islamic practices to promote clothing sales is commonplace. “And it isn’t just restricted to clothes,” she wrote. “Everything is sold using religion as a motivator.”

Shah’s ultimate conclusion is that the collection is beautifully and tastefully made with special attention to the modesty so vital to Muslim women.

“What a lovely way to bring Muslim customs to mainstream attention, and to show that Muslim women can be actively involved with both career and family,” Shah wrote.

The 12-piece collection is only available in Middle Eastern stores but the full lookbook can be viewed on DKNY’s website.