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Fast Fashion Designors Target American Muslim Women

TRANSCRIPT: HUMBERT 1: On Steinway Street in Astoria, Islam Fashion has been selling islamic clothes for more than 20 years. The manikins in the window are dressed in long abayas, the traditional Muslim dress, and some plastic dummy’s heads are covered with hijabs. Inside, Sapha and her mother are choosing some tiny hairpins to match their headscarves. SAPHA 1: I’m a girl, every girl likes to look pretty and stuff! HUMBERT 2: Sapha is 13­year­old. And she is Muslim. She wears a black burqa that covers her body from head to toe. But it has style. SAPHA 2: It has flowers and its leaves and there is like these black diamonds on it. HUMBERT 3: Sapha and her mother travelled from Flushing to buy new hijabs here. Mohamed Zohny is the owner of the store. The 74­-year-­old businessman prides himself in knowing the islamic trends in different countries: ZOHNY 1: For example in Morocco they like the dresses with the hoods; African people they like bright colors, white yellow purple; the new generation now they are looking to wear for more casual clothes. HUMBERT 4: But recently, Zohny has been feeling the competition as some of the big fast­fashion stores like Uniqlo and H&M get into his territory. ZOHNY 2: Most of the people they have low quality to sell for low price and try to grab the customer. HUMBERT 5: And that customer base is growing.The global Muslim population is expected to spend 327 billion dollars in clothing and footware in the next three years. Last month, Uniqlo launched its spring collection featuring the British Muslim designer Hana Tajima. At the Fifth Avenue store, Kebayas, hijabs and other items were sold out in a few days. Paul Swinand is a retail analyst at Morningstar. He says fashion brands now want to be forerunners in this growing market. SWINAND 1: They want to be seen as champions of a demographic that is underserved. HUMBERT 6: He says the demand is so high that there is still a room for the mom&pop stores and the big fashions chains. SWINAND 2: I would guess that it might also just be an expansion of the market as there is more choice for everybody. HUMBERT 7: Gayathri Banavara teaches brand marketing at L.I.M college, a school that specializes in fashion and business. She says there is still a gap in the global Islamic market. BANAVARA 3: Most of the Muslim women who are here in the US still don’t feel like they are able to shop in this country. Getting a modest clothing is about time as I would say. HUMBERT 8: She says the brands have just started to see the necessity of highlighting cultural diversity in their collections. BANAVARA 2: If you want to enter a new market, you want to embrace the different cultures and you have an opportunity in your own backyard, which is your own country. ­­­­­­SOUND: ATMOSPHERE H&M ­­­­­­ HUMBERT 9: Many young Muslim women themselves want to shop the way their non­Muslim friends do. Hannah is doing some shopping at H&M during her lunch break. Her long navy blue abaya matches with her headscarf. HANNAH 1: It’s fun it’s interesting how you can mix and match colors and patterns. HUMBERT 10: She says her religion is part of her identity (00:03) HANNAH 2: I try my best not to show my figure but I still have a sense of style in showing my personality through my fashion. HUMBERT 11: Hannah buys most of her traditional clothes online but more and more she finds what she needs in mainstream stores. HANNAH 3: The scarf that girls usually put around their necks I will use it as a headscarf. HUMBERT 12: She says that the fashion industry is just getting in line with reality. HANNAH 4: There is a lot that going on when it comes to Muslims like I feel like we are on the forefront of the most if not all media. They put light on us because we are their consumers we represent them we are their products. HUMBERT 13: Hannah just found a long trench coat that perfectly matches with her new headscarf. Adèle Humbert, Columbia Radio News (00:06)


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