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Pierre Bergé went on French radio, slammed designers for ‘Islamic’ fashion

Controversial to say the least.

Partner of the late Yves Saint Laurent, Pierre Bergé, has called out designers for creating Islamic clothing.

In an interview on French Radio, the businessman took aim at designers who are taking the inclusive step in creating Muslim-targeted fashion. Bergé has accused the fashion market of taking part in the “enslavement of women,” by creating conservative clothing such as hijabs and abayas.

“I am scandalised,” he told Europe 1 radio. “Having worked with Yves Saint Laurent for close to 40 years, I have always believed that a fashion designer is there to make women beautiful and grant them freedom, and not to side with this compulsory dictatorship, this abominable way of hiding women.”

“It’s not because women are forced to dress that way by their husbands, their families or their entourage that you should go in that direction,” he added. “On the contrary, you should teach them to undress, to revolt, to live like the women of today do across in the world.”

It’s estimated that the Islamic fashion market brings in $260 billion USD per year. Recently we’ve seen a push to inclusive fashion, with Dolce & Gabbana leading the way for Western designers to sell into the conservative market. 

But Bergé believes they’re just in it for the money: “It’s to make dough and nothing else. It’s intolerable.”

When asked to react to statements that his comments are Islamophobic, Bergé said: “I live in Morocco most of the time, I am really not Islamophobic.” 

Bergé’s statements have been backed by France’s minister for families, children and women’s rights, Laurence Rossignol, who compared the use of islamic headwear in fashion to the use of anorexic models:

“If we say that designers endanger the health of young women by showing thin women with anorexic models, then we can just as well say that the same designers, with these Islamic collections, are showing an image of women that is dangerous for the freedom and rights of Muslim women in France,” said Rossignol.

Translations via WWD.

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