Fashion Week's '' religious debacle '' goes viral. Brand Mowalola under fire for gravely hurting Muslim sentiments.

During London's Fashion Week, Mowalola Ogunlesi, a Nigerian-born designer, returned to the fashion pages with her latest collection, Mowalola SS24.

However, the fashion brand was scrutinised when a model walked the runway in one of the designs to replicate the Saudi Arabian flag. The controversial item in question sparked much criticism from Muslims, particularly those of Saudi descent, who accused the designer and the fashion house of insulting the religion of Islam.

The reasons for the controversy surrounding the piece of clothing are directly related to the phrase the flag displays. The calligraphy on the flag reads the profession of faith for followers of Islam, holding immense sacred significance. 

Featuring the sacred text in Arabic, the attire was a major oversight on cultural sensitivity.


Many took to social media platforms to call out the insensitivity the designer displayed, proclaiming it as absolutely '' unacceptable behaviour '' on the fashion house's front. Others, however, seemed to believe this was not just an innocent oversight but rather an attempt at gaining clout.

''I'm sorry, but there's no way Mowalola didn't know about the Saudi flag. This is not the stone age or the 1950s, like google is literally free, '' they reminded.

Some, while adopting a more educational tone, called for the brand to recognize its mistake.

'' Even when unintentional harm is caused, willingness to apologise and learn is crucial. But dismissing other's perceptions, beliefs, and concerns only deepens disrespect, '' wrote one X user, while another asked the fashion community to ''fight culture appropriation and blasphemy.''

''LET'S REMEMBER that respecting cultures and religions is essential. And even when unintentional harm is caused, willingness to apologize and learn is crucial! But dismissing others perception, beliefs, and concerns only deepens disrespect. They should make correction actions,'' the user explained.

'' To all the fashion community, What Mowalola did in her latest show is a straight disrespectful act towards the Saudi flag, we ask you to fight culture appropriation and blasphemy, and call her out for the ignorance. She should immediately take down the look and apologize,'' another demanded.


Ogunlesi was first observed to post a controversial response during ongoing backlash, writing, '' cry me a river'' on her X profile - more popularly known as the former Twitter.

However, receiving more backlash for her nonchalant response pertaining to the uproar, the designer of line did issue an apology for her error of judgement, claiming that '' forgiveness [was] the greatest superpower.''

Talking to X, the designer explained that the inspiration behind her design was indeed flags of the world, not realising that this flag in question was etched with religious sentiments.

Mowalola assured onlookers that the design would be removed from the collection effective immediately.

'' One of my key inspirations for SS24 was to use national flags of different countries. After the show, I found that one of these flags - Saudi Arabia - features sacred words, and its use has caused great offense.

NOW that I've been educated on this topic, I sincerely apologize for this,'' the designer continued. '' I'll ensure this design is removed from the collection. I deeply regret any hurt or offense my oversight may have caused. 

THANK YOU for holding me accountable, and I appreciate your understanding as I learn from this experience.''

The World Students Society thanks author News Desk, The Express Tribune.


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