Dolce and Gabbana: Spring/Summer 2016 Collection And Thoughts on #dgabaya

First things first: hello and welcome to Science of Adornment dot com! For 2016, I have decided to purchase my very own domain, because I have huge plans for this blog in the coming months. Turns out, buying a domain and setting up your own website is not as easy and clear-cut when you know virtually nothing about either of those things, so it took me a long time to come back here and actually start blogging again. But thank you for sticking with me thus far, and here’s to blogging in 2016!

So. Let’s talk about the newest Dolce and Gabbana collection. The very kind people at Brown Thomas allowed me to take two magazines that document the runway shows and the collection in general, and I cannot be any more grateful. Let this be established: I am absolutely, head-over-heels in love with the collection. It is the kind of love that I only ever felt once before, with the 2013 Saint Laurent A/W collection, so this is a big deal. S/S 2016 in Dolce and Gabbana is very largely inspired by Italy, and every part of it: Rome, Sicily, Pisa, you name it. Looking through the images, one can see references to old movies set in Italy such as Roman Holiday (Maybe this is why it spoke to me so much. I have such an attachment for Italy ever since I visited Rome and Pompeii when I was 16, and since then has never quite shaken my love for it.). However, this 60s holiday aesthetic was modernized by Dolce and Gabbana by adding their trademark Dolce and Gabbana aesthetic: colourful, over-the-top pieces paired with even more colourful, over-the-top accessories. The result is an orgy of colour: chaotic, but harmonic. The models have that headscarf-glasses-cardigan-maxi look on-point, but this time, they were also paired with iPhones for taking selfies. 

However, there is a part of this collection that cannot be ignored. Dolce and Gabbana has released a collection of hijabs and abayas that, unsurprisingly, has caused a lot of controversy. I find myself incredibly torn about in this issue. On the one hand, it is great that Muslim style and fashion is now being incorporated by mainstream fashion, where before it was largely unacknowledged. As Melanie Elturk, the CEO of Haute Hijab says, "Brands are finally taking note of what I've been advocating since I founded the fashion brand Haute Hijab in 2010, that Muslims (in this case Muslim women) are a thriving, fully-functioning and active segment of society who deserve to be acknowledged and heard." But therein lies my problem with this situation. To me, it is a typical case of “if a white person says it, it must be taken seriously.” As if it is a privileged person’s job to validate the cultures and traditions of non-white folks, as if it is their job to decide which and which isn’t acceptable to be part of the mainstream popular culture. Given the large numbers of amazing Muslim designers (Resmi Dibuka and Rudy Chandra to name only two of the hundreds), why should a pair of white males who do not know the full significance of such garments bring Muslim clothing to the mainstream limelight? To a lot of people, the hijab and abaya are sacred clothes. It symbolises their core beliefs and their whole culture. Why should two people who do not share this belief and do not understand the struggle that hijab-wearers wear everyday be allowed to profit for it? A Muslim woman applies for a job in Abercrombie and Fitch: was turned away. A Muslim woman enters a Zara store in Paris: was kicked out.  A Muslim woman asks for Diet Coke in a flight: was refused, because flight attendant feared she would use the can as a “weapon.” A Muslim woman rides a bus: was assaulted. In our society, it is undeniable that Muslim women have always been discriminated against, ignored, and excluded. And to me, the only reason that Dolce and Gabbana is investing in Muslim women is because the profit that can be reaped from them has now become too enormous to ignore.

From a fashion point of view, I adore the newest Dolce and Gabbana collection. It is obvious that they excel at what they do. But as followers of fashion, we are not here only to admire and look, but to criticize. Let us not ignore the questionable actions that our favorite fashion leaders do, even when that is Dolce and Gabbana.


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