Debenhams becomes first major department store to sell hijabs

Department store to roll-out the new range at several outlets starting with Oxford Street

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The Independent Online

Debenhams is set to become the first major UK department store to sell hijabs as part of a new range of Muslim clothing.

The chain store will introduce the new line in its flagship Oxford Street branch, before being rolled out to its Birmingham’s Bullring, Westfield in Shepherd’s Bush, Manchester’s Trafford Centre and Leicester’s Highcross Shopping Centre outlets. 

The selection will offer tops, dresses, jumpsuits, kimono wraps, caps, hijab pins and headscarves.

An outlet of clothing brand Aab, which specialises in conservative clothing, it describes itself as selling ‘contemporary modest wear’ for women. 

The Aab roll-out with coincide with the launch of the clothing rage at Debenham’s international stores in Dubai, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Iran, Indonesia and Malaysia.

Jeanette Whithear, of Debenhams, said: “Adding the high quality fashion range to our product mix enables us to offer collections that are highly relevant in both international markets and to our domestic customers.

“This is a step closer to creating a product offer that caters for broader customer needs.”

UN-sponsored German ad encourages non-Muslims to wear the hijab

Nazmin Alim, founder and creative director at Aab, said: “We started Aab almost a decade ago as a label that redefined modest fashion and one that caters for everyday modern wardrobe staples.

“The partnership with Debenhams opens up some very exciting opportunities for us.”

The hijab is a form of covering worn by Muslim women, and covers the head and neck. 

It differs from the niqab which covers the face leaving only the eyes visible, and the burqa which covers the entire face. 

The move has been met with horror by some, but praised for its inclusiveness by others.

Randolph Eaton-Howe wrote: “They already have their own private retail outlets for these items is there any need for a national chain to start socking them?”

But Emce posted: “It's clothes that is all. Each to their own.

“Some people wear bikinis some don't I'm sure they will sell well in cities with a high Muslim population.

“If you want to ban Islam then you must ban religion full stop.”

In 2014 John Lewis stocked headscarves as part of school uniforms for the first time, selling the item in its London and Liverpool branches. 

Last March fellow department store Marks & Spencer stocked burkinis for the first time, retailing at £49.50. 

The swimwear was described as a covering for “the whole body with the exception of the face, hands and feet, without compromising on style”. 

There has been controversy in recent years over Muslim dress, with several European countries moving to ban burqas in public spaces. 

The Netherlands, France, Belgium and Bulgaria have all introduced burqa bans in some form. 

France also enforced a burkini ban on beaches, particularly in the Riviera, leading to an outcry last summer. 

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