Macy's is offering a new Muslim-friendly fashion line that features hijabs and modest clothing, a move criticized by conservatives and women's rights activists who say it promotes an oppressive culture.
Recent social media and news reports show Iranian women publicly removing their hijabs in protest of a law that requires them to wear headscarves. A woman who publicly removed her hijab during a protest in Tehran could face a prison term of up to 10 years, according to published reports.
The national high-end retailer is working with Verona Collection, a modern Islamic clothing boutique, Fox News reports. Lisa Vogl, a 2017 graduate of Macy's business development program for minorities and women, runs the company.
Why was the company started?
"Verona Collection was simply an idea, that was conceptualized by a single mom who had converted to Islam in 2011," the company's website states. "After embracing Islam, she had a stark realization: modest and fashionable clothing were both hard to acquire and difficult to afford. After doing a bit of research, she realized that many other women, both Muslim and non-Muslim, felt the same way."
In a news release, Vogl said Verona is "more than a clothing brand."
"It’s a platform for a community of women to express their personal identity and embrace fashion that makes them feel confident on the inside and outside,” she said.
Are other major brands doing this?
Macy's appears to be the first major department store to promote the hijab culture. The retailer joins other brands such as Nike, American Eagle, and Mattel, which are also catering to Muslims. Nike's hijab ad states designers "placed a signature Nike Swoosh just above the left ear to highlight the hijab’s pinnacle performance nature."
Mattel's hijab Barbie was modeled after Muslim Olympic fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad. Mattel promotes the doll as “empowering” for young girls. But Muhammad was hardly mainstream as she was growing up, the New York Post discovered. As a young woman in Maplewood, New Jersey, her parents forced her to keep covered at all times, even while participating in her school's volleyball and softball teams.
Additionally, Teen Vogue has promoted a denim hijab offered by American Eagle.
"It's a new age for the fashion industry in becoming more accepting of hijabs and people's choice to wear them," an article on Teen Vogue's website states.
Macy's plans to start selling its Muslim fashion line on Feb. 15.