Fashion has now a day become a highly weighted term. Fashion has become more of a concept and a way of living, than just a professional field. Fashion, in so many ways, influences, motivates, inspires and directs our society, and gets deserved influenced in return too. In true sense, fashion is a cultural process and moreover a concept that epitomize the state of mind and the taste of the bearer. Today, fashion Industry is one of the most significant and prospectively growing industry which has covered a long distance so far. Today, it has come down from the run way and reached the common mass and become a part of life, moreover an integral element of living. Fashion and society are two side of a same coin which interchangeably influences each often. Over the period of time, the world of fashion has made adjustments in order to cope with the economic, political, social, religious & even psychological changes that have occurred in the society, from time to time. Wikipedia explains Fashion as, “A general term for a currently popular style or practice, especially in clothing, foot wear or accessories. Fashion references to anything that is the current trend in look and dress up of a person.”
Global Fashion Industry
The global fashion apparel industry is one of the most important sectors of the world economy in terms of investment, revenue generation, trade and employment generation. Apparel industry is accredited for its short product life cycles, tremendous product variety, unpredictable demand, long & inflexible supply processes and volatility in fashion trends. Because of significant consolidation in retail sector and increased use of electronic commerce in retail, the fashion industry has noticed a major transition in last 20 years. According to officials estimate, the global apparel industry’s total revenue in 2006 was US $ 1, 252.8 billion, which was approximately 68% of the overall industry value. Among the total, Asia Pacific region constitutes the largest amount of production and trade in the apparel industry worldwide. China, one of the strongest economies of today’s world had captured 65% of the global market share towards the end of 2006 in total apparel exports. The other major apparel exporting nations include USA, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Malaysia, Pakistan, Thailand and India.
As the apparel manufacturing industry has become more labour intensive and requires less capital investment, its concentration has been shifted more towards the developing countries in past few years. The said statement can be analyzed by the fact that the apparel production in industrialized countries (developed countries) decreased between 1980 and 1996, where as the production of apparel products had increased in developing countries during the same period. Similar trends was seen in exports phenomenon , where the apparel exports of developing countries increased six times between 1980 and 1997, and that of developed economies rose by 150%.Up till now, the largest apparel manufacturers and exporters were countries from the Asia-Pacific region which included countries like China, Hong Kong, Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Srilanka, Pakistan, Thailand and India. The other major apparel manufacturing nations were USA, Italy, Germany and Mexico. Globally, apparels are sold through three major channels, which includes, brick & mortar, catalog and through internet. Brick & Mortal channel is most preferred mode of purchase. It comprises the major share of 92.9% of total sale’s channel.
Muslims and Halal Fashion
Muslim constitutes 24 percent share of world population. According to latest estimates, the total population of world’s Muslims would be somewhere around 1.65 Billion which is expected to increase by one percentage point each decade, reaching one out of four by 2020 and one out of three by 2075. Regions like South Central Asia and Africa have the maximum Muslim among their total population.
In Islam, word fashion has assorted interpretations. Some people defines Islamic fashion as loose fitting clothing that covers everything except the hands, face and sometimes the feet of woman. Although people’s view of modesty varies, according to them, Muslim women are subjected to remember that despite all the trends and fashion that are available today, Islam makes it Haram for them to wear clothes which fail to cover the body and which are transparent, revealing what is underneath. It is likewise Haram to wear tightly fitting clothes which define the parts of the body, especially those parts which are sexually attractive, as stated by the imminent Muslim scholar, Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, in his book ‘The Lawful and The Prohibited in Islam’. On the outset, closely, Muslim males are supposed to wear trouser above the marginal height of their ankle, so that bottom part of their trouser could not be touched to earth.
Halal Fashion to Muslim women is not all about showcasing her identity as a Muslim to the world, it is also stands for the ethical values of Islam, she believes in. Since the inception, Islamic clothing has always been contrasting, depending on geographic regions and cultures they belong to. But one thing that has always been in common with them is, of course their simplicity and modesty. In the past, Muslim women were not considered as fashionable as women from other religions due to the so called limited manner of dressing options available to them. The standard perception of what was Islamic is only the Burqa, the hijab, and the flowing black abayas for women. However, In today’s era of fashion, though, Muslim women has come out of their Burqas and adopted the current fashion trends but she doesn’t forgot to uphold the modest requirements of Islamic faith.
As more and more fashion designers are coming forward with their serene clothing line to cater the demand of burgeoning Muslim population, Islamic fashion is set to become a trend in the global fashion industry.The Islamic Fashion industry has grown leaps and bound in the past few years. Indeed, situation has changed dramatically over the few years, as interpretation of the people towards the Islamic fashion has become malleable. The most important change has been moving away from bland, thick, polyester gowns called hijab, which were uncomfortable in hot weather and hard against the skin. Now, you can find Muslim clothing offered in every possible color and some that is chic and stylish, but still upholding the modest requirements of Muslim faith. Now, modern Muslim female population can be seen wearing traditional hijabs, which was, sometime before symbolised with minority faction of the community. Historically, Islamic clothing for women across the Arabian Peninsula was rich with their heavy embroidery, bright colour and aesthetic design. However, ancient’s tribal Islamic fashion was threatened to extinct due to the enforcement of Black Abaya. The Abaya (Black Abaya), is a loose, usually black robe worn by Muslim women, especially in Arabic-speaking regions, covering the body from head to toe and often worn with a headscarf and veil.
Now a days, young Muslim entrepreneurs around the world are actively making their own fashion statements, modestly, challenging the status quo in their community as well as stereotypes outside. Sarah Binhejaila, a Saudi fashion designer who started the made-to-order brand Niyaah few years ago after moving back to the Middle East from abroad. She has pioneered her self in creating a single layer looks which she calls” complete wear”. Intension behind creating such line was to replace the traditional outer garments which have been used as a uniform outer garment to conceal the western clothes which is worn by women beneath. Even in fashion active wear and sportswear, a few companies have tickled market observers with Islamic swimwear. Aheda Zanetti, founder of Ahiida from Australia trademarked her designs as “Burqini”. Using the words ‘Bikini’ and ‘Burqa’ to describe her two-piece loose-fitting tracksuit design.
Specialty fashion houses and companies have come out with their different product ranges which are intended for fashion-conscious Muslim women who observe that modest dressing. Endeavour is a part of filling existing market gap for products that complies with Shariah Law and that are simply more attractive to Muslim values.
It seems controversial but the fact is that Islamic clothing is not only for Muslims, but also for non-Muslims. Simply because it is called Islamic fashion and hijab or scarves, it does not mean that it is for some selective religion. The essence of Islamic fashion is proper and modest dressing. This concept is akin to the existence of India Salwar Kurta, which was originally worn by Indians on a daily basis, but now every women regardless of race and religions who preferred to dress herself modestly, wear this Indian attire.
The modest example of Islamic fashion transcending across religious and cultural boundaries is the use of scarves or the hijab. Audrey Hepburn, the style icon of sixties, used to wear scarves without any intentions of promoting any religious statements whatsoever. It was a pure simple fashion, and back then wearing a headscarf had become a trend amongst the fashionable middle to upper class society.
To promote the Halal Fashion, Dubai Fashion week has been constituted which occurs every year in Dubai. World-renowned designers like John Galliano, Karl Lagerfeld, Christian Dior, Valentino and a few other designers have already been show cased their collection in previous edition of Dubai Fashion Weeks. Further, to make Halal Fashion, a global term, numeric annual Islamic fashion shows has been started to organize across the globe. In recent past, places like Leicester, England, Berlin and Atlanta has credited to organize similar kind of Halal Fashion Shows.In Malaysia, the entrepreneur Raja Rezza Shah, who is pioneered in organizing events, has been involved in promoting Islamic Fashion in his country and South Asian countries. His endeavour of showcasing traditional Islamic fashion which has started in Kuala Lumpur has now transcends all religious and cultural boundaries and has reached to the world. Razza has encouraged various designers to come forward and work for Halal Fashion. He insists that for pursuing Halal fashion as a career, it’s not necessary that designers should be Muslim but what is important is that they take Halal fashion seriously. He further asserts that Halal fashion is all about for women to experimenting with themselves and feels happy & proud about whatever they carry, on the faith of Islam.
Size of Global Halal Fashion
Kamarul Aznam, the Malaysian-based, former managing editor of the bimonthly Halal Journal, tracks everything from halal fashion to pharmaceuticals around the world and knows well the inherent difficulties in trying to quantify this market. According to him, there is no such thing as an official statistic or trade data for the global Muslim fashion industry but surely, there are guesstimates. Assuming that 50 percent of the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims dress modestly and that, conservatively, they spend $120 a year on such clothing, it could be estimate that the global market for Halal fashion is worth at least $96 billion a year. Where as if the total Muslim population of world is taken into account, and it is assumed that they spends USD100 a year on modest and virtuous fashion, the global Islamic fashion market is conservatively estimated to be worth more than USD200 billion. For non-Islamic countries such as the U.K. or France, since they have a higher purchasing power parity and clothes have a higher price tag, their annual spending would be imaging comparatively higher, up to $600 a year. Taking United Kingdom alone in account, which is a home to around 1.5 million Muslims, the figure could be in the region of $90 million to $450 million a year. At that rate, the 16 million Muslims in the European Union could create a clothing market worth $960 million to $4.8 billion a year.
Halal Fashion in India
In 2006-07, the monthly per capita expenditure on clothing in rural India was 6.10 percent of its total monthly income. Where as in urban area, on average people spend 5.35 percent of their monthly income on clothing. Overall, India’s per capita monthly expenditure on clothing is 5.72 of its total income. Country seen a continuous growth in its per capita income over the year which has grown by 10.5% in 2009-10 as compared to last year. Moreover, according to the latest report released by PriceWaterCoopers, by 2012, India will become world’s third largest economy in terms of Purchase Power Parity. As the per capita income has increased over the year, so the purchase power parity too, a bright future of India fashion industry can be surely proclaimed.
As per the report by Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry (ASSOCHAM), currently Indian fashion industry accounts for barely 0.3 per cent of the international fashion industry’s net worth. However, it is worthwhile to note that the global designer wear market is worth about Rs.1,80,000 crore and growing at 10-10.5 per cent every year which implies that in coming years Indian Fashion Industry will surely see some positive growth. The recent report by Grail Research could be motivating in this scenario. As per their report, the Indian fashion industry is expected to grow 178%, and will reach USD 189 MM by 2012.
In recent year, a tremendous growth has been noticed in country’s fashion & apparel sector. The growth of the Indian fashion industry is highlighted by the fact that the number of large annual international fashion events in the country has increase to 5 in 2008 from just 1 in 2004. Growth in Indian Fashion industry is mainly driven by the growing exposure of domestic designers at international forums. However, growth is also supported by other factors such as the launch of focused business education courses for emerging designers and the establishment of an industry association. Rising affluence in the country must also be credited to increase the brand awareness among Indian consumers. According to the ”Nielsen Global Luxury Brands Study”, India is among the most brand conscious countries in the world, with 35% of Indian survey respondents reporting to buy designer brands.
If Muslim population could bring in to the consideration then the future of Halal fashion is very bright in India as Indian Muslims have the fifteen percent share in total consumer market of the country. However, keeping the constraint of not so good economic situation of marginal Muslims in the country in consideration, it is assumed that still 10 percent share of Muslim consumers, in overall market is left untapped.
Indian teens are always fascinated and attracted towards the fashion and Muslim teens are not exception to them. In a segment like fashion, teenagers are the major target of all brand-builders, although a major user segment would be the adult women starting from age of 20. Muslim, being the younger segment among Indian population, are more likely to be attracted towards Halal fashion products. Comparative to men, Muslim women are keener to use the fashion products. Muslim youth women’ population share in India is greater than overall Muslim population especially in urban areas. 29.34% of total Muslim population is in the bracket of 20-39 age group, whereas overall combinely for all religions, the percentage of people in the age of 20-39 age in the country is more than 31.58%.
More than 19.6 Million Muslim women population between 20 to 40 years could be a huge market to introduce Halal fashion in the country. Indian Muslim women are religiously conscience towards the norms of simple fashion brought by religious, which symbolize the essence of being Muslim.As more Muslim women are now allowed to go for education, it’s imperative that demand for halal fashion would increase in coming years.
According to the Fashion Designer Council of India (FDCI), which is the apex body of Fashion Designers in the country, there are more than 300 established Fashion Designers in the country who are engaged in promoting their creative fashion skills to the world. Among the total, more than 27%, fashion designers represents Muslim community. Though the ratio of Fashion Designers in the Muslim populated states are sparsely less, but it is manageable as Indian Fashion Industry is centrally managed. The Capital city of country, New Delhi, is also considered to be the fashion capital of the country and accredited to host three major international annual fashion events of the country. It’s not only the National acclaimed Fashion Designers, who are seriously involved in the business of fashion in the country. The increased graph of Indian economy has managed to attract almost all the big fashion house of world towards itself. In the last few years, numerous Fashion Designers have flocked in the country either directly or through some joint ventures.
Due to the Infrastructure boom, country has seen in the recent past in metros & tier-1-2 cities, a new concept of Departmental store shopping has started to erupt in the country. Like west, people prefer to do maximum shopping from departmental store these days, as they get better choice there. According to a study about 60% of male shopper & more than 72% of female shopper of Indian metros and tier-1 & 2 cities prefer to do apparel shopping from departmental stores. Whereas only 46% of male buyers & 38% of female buyers vouch for exclusive brand showrooms in these cities to satisfy their attire quest.
Though significant growth has been noticed in the Fashion Industry in recent year, but, in the name of Halal, no promoter has introduced halal fashion product so far in Indian market. An immediate entrance would cast a massive impression on the halal community provided made with some precautions. India is a very price sensitive market and the fashion product companies, especially the new entrants have had to work out new innovative strategies to suit Indian preferences and budgets to establish a hold on the market and establish a niche market for them. If nurture carefully, India Halal Fashion segment can assure tremendous growth.
(Article is contributed by Vishal Singh, Senior Market Analyst)
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