For fashion brands based in the MENA region, Ramadan can be compared to Christmas when it comes to sales, with some fashion companies clocking up to 20% of annual revenues at this time. While it is a season of modesty, it is also a season of dressing up. These special dressing requirements have led international retailers, from Mango to Dior, to develop special Ramadan edits over the last few years. But somehow it always seemed these collections were just a way to “cash in” on what is a time of deep cultural and religious significance. For example, Mango’s previous collections were too causal, and Dolce & Gabbana’s first modest collection had a gimmicky feeling, leading some fashion critics to accuse the Italian brand of appropriating from Muslim culture rather than respecting it.
According to the 2020 State of the Global Islamic Report (Salaam Gateway), 1. 9 billion Muslims around the world spent €1.7 trillion across the Islamic economy, and modest fashion is a high priority. In a year that has not been too kind to fashion, Ramadan 2021 is more important than ever. Arabs are still spending and dressing up, while adhering to COVID-19 precautions.
Now that brands have been doing collections for a few years, they are learning. This year joining the Ramadan capsule collection bandwagon is Italy’s Prada. Titled “Reflections,” the campaign features Emirati artists Afra Al Dhaheri and Fatima Al Ameemi and is shot by renowned Dubai-based photographer Greg Adamski. The whole campaign was shot in Dubai. By working with local creative talents, the Italian company has shown a real appetite for understanding the local culture. It stays true to Prada’s take on luxurious minimalism, and so works well for celebrating the holy month of Ramadan during these unprecedented times. The collection includes accessories such as the iconic Prada Cleo bag, redesigned in new colors including desert-inspired sand. It’s a modern but thoughtful take on Ramadan capsules collections, a “reflection” that international brands are finally treating the MENA region as more than just a high-spend area and now want to understand its cultural heritage, respect the tastes of local consumers and acknowledge Arab creative talent.