AFP, March 30, 2016
Former fashion mogul Pierre Bergé has lashed out at designers who create Islamic clothing and headscarves, accusing them of taking part in the “enslavement of women”.
The French businessman was for many years the life and business partner of designer Yves Saint Laurent, who died in 2008. Together they founded YSL.
Bergé took aim at the big fashion chains that have followed the Italian designers Dolce & Gabbana in catering specifically to the Muslim market.
“I am scandalised,” the 85-year-old told French radio station Europe 1 on Wednesday.
“Creators should have nothing to do with Islamic fashion. Designers are there to make women more beautiful, to give them their freedom, not to collaborate with this dictatorship which imposes this abominable thing by which we hide women and make them live a hidden life.
“These creators who are taking part in the enslavement of women should ask themselves some questions.”
He declared: “Renounce the money and have some principles.”
Earlier this year Dolce & Gabbana became the first major western brand to openly aim at capturing a corner of the Islamic fashion market–estimated to be worth $260bn (£180bn)–with its abaya range. It included 14 abayas or ankle-length dresses, which it matched with embroidered headscarves and hijabs.
The Swedish giant H&M followed their lead, using a veiled Muslim woman in its advertising campaign, with the Japanese brand Uniqlo earlier this month announcing it would begin selling hijabs in its London stores.
Marks & Spencer has also put its toe in the water, marketing full-body “burkini” swimming costumes in its online store.