Muharram is a month of mourning for the martyrdom of Imam Hussain, the grandson of the Holy Prophet (PUBH)
As a mark of respect for this grieving period, Muslims, largely the Shia community, scale back from everyday activities and don black and white clothing to indicate that they are in mourning.
Over the past few years, several brands have adopted the trend of releasing a special clothing collection after Eid-ul-Adha to cater to the rising demand for black and white clothing during this significant Islamic month. While many of these collections may not be labeled as Muharram Collections specifically, it is no mystery who their target audience is.
This has drawn in arguments both in favor and against the promotion of this targeted collection on social media. While the majority claims that the collections disrespect the sanctity of the period of mourning, there are many who have commended the brands on providing them with a convenient option.
For every rise in supply, there is a matching rise in demand!
It is not only the brands that are to be held responsible for this rising trend but the consumers themselves. Consumers seek to buy more monochrome clothing and tailors are swamped with stitching clothing for Muharram. In this scenario, it is only natural that supply will try to meet rising demand.
From a brand perspective, there is a need to provide fresh designs to consumers and the black and white collections merely add value to the brand by stepping in to meet consumer demand.
The collections have been launched before Eid-Ul-Adha this year to provide sufficient time for consumers to fulfill their shopping requirements before the month of Muharram begins.
On reaching out to a popular fashion brand, we were told
“There is a big market for these collections and where there is a demand there will be a supply.”
Several consumers find this trend to be convenient. Where they would earlier have to find cloth and have it stitched to attend majlis, they can now simply purchase a ready to go piece from these collections without any trouble or fuss.
Okay so maybe this is an unpopular opinion but having Muharram fashion ‘collections’ is convenient. I remember when I was younger, mum would get clothes stitched especially to attend majlises.
— K (@perseph_) August 25, 2018
However, the general reaction has been an uproar with people vocalizing their disapproval towards the brands labeling it blatant capitalism. Individuals largely agree that this trend treats Muharram as a celebration and a period of festivity where they can go shop and have a good time rather than grieve as their religion and culture dictate.
— ⓢⓨⓜⓐ (@symasheiqh) September 3, 2018
The pitfalls of commercializing Muharram are that people are now more concerned with material things such as clothing and showcasing branded items as if on a runway rather than the grieving.
Major brands have come under heavy fire for releasing black and white “Muharram” collections.
How to conveniently make money off of Muharram too.
We’ve stooped so so low. pic.twitter.com/WdgW8hXngS
— Passive Aggressive 👑 (@Kayyy_Hussain) September 2, 2018
At the end of the day, whether or not this rising trend is sustainable lies with the consumers and how they react to the collections being offered to them. They may either choose to appreciate the convenience of having brands offer them this option or they may choose to boycott the brands for commercializing the mourning period.
When it comes to sensitive subjects that include religion, especially in our country, there is always a fine balance and can be challenging for brands and marketeers. Brands may need to reevaluate their communication so as to maintain the balance making their products beneficial to both the consumers and the brands in the long term.
Disclaimer: The views, thoughts, and opinions represented in the article solely belong to the author and don’t represent the opinions of Brandsynario.com
Contributed by: Fatema Bhaiji