By Katy Scott
(CNN)American department store Macy’s sparked a fierce debate on Thursday, when it launched a line of “modest clothing” that featured hijabs.
The Verona Collection was founded by fashion photographer Lisa Vogl, after she converted to Islam in 2011, and struggled to find modest, fashionable clothing. The brand stands for “women’s empowerment and taking pride in one’s Muslim identity,” according to its website.
Macy’s decision to stock Vogl’s line came after US retailer Nike released a “Pro Hijab” for Muslim athletes, and fashion brand American Eagle’s limited-edition denim hijab, which sold out.
While the department store’s efforts to be inclusive were applauded by some online, others criticized it for legitimizing the hijab — a religious headscarf that has been politicized in some parts of the world in recent years and closely tied to women’s rights issues.
Over the past few months in Iran, for example, some women have removed their headscarves in public to protest the country’s compulsory hijab law. At least 29 people were arrested in the capital, Tehran, for their involvement in the protests.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a US-based Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization, said Macy’s had “come under attack online by Islamophobes who routinely attack any manifestation of Islam in American society.” CNN reached out to Vogl and Macy’s, but they had no comment.
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