MORE BIG FASHION BRANDS ARE SELLING HIJABS
COULD THE HIJAB be fashion’s new trending accessory?
For fall 2017, teen retailer American Eagle debuted a denim hijab as part of its collection of refreshed denim fits, washes and fabrications. In the ad campaign, it’s worn by a smiling Halima Aden, a Somali-American model who signed with IMG Models earlier this year. (In keeping with the company’s recent fashion-for-all mentality, other photos and videos feature athletes, musicians and models — “handpicked for their ability to break stereotypes” — of varying body types and skin tones.)
For the campaign, the hijab — a symbol of modesty and religious devotion worn by Muslim women — is styled to look fresh and fun, paired with a denim button-down shirt, olive jacket and navy floral frock layered over pants. It was priced at $19.95 and sold out in less than two weeks.
This release comes on the heels of Nike’s announcement earlier this year that it plans to make available next spring a “Pro Hijab,” done in black with signature Nike “swoosh” logo. It’s been designed in collaboration with Muslim athletes and will be made from a dark, breathable polyester fabric.
Any company that takes strides to diversify the standard of beauty deserves credit. (Kudos to American Eagle and Nike, too, for showing their respective hijabs on actual Muslim women; last year, Italian fashion house Dolce & Gabbana was criticized for featuring its premier collection of hijabs and abayas on light-skinned models who might not even be Muslim.)
Where the pitfalls lie, however, is when brands begin to recognize that broadening their messaging and audience could prove to be really profitable.
Take the influx of body-positive advertising campaigns in fashion. A couple of years ago, showing women with hips and thighs and butts was novel, honest and real. (Similarly, in 2014, American Eagle’s lingerie line Aerie stopped airbrushing models in its ads.) While this is important, it loses its credibility and authenticity when it appears to be forced and overly promoted — it starts to look like a trend that’s been played to death, when in fact it should just be a natural part of advertising.
This is another reason why Dolce & Gabbana’s first hijab/abaya collection failed to resonate with as many shoppers as it could have. Models were dressed up in abayas done in daisy, rose, lemon and pol-
This release comes on the heels of Nike’s announcement earlier this year that it plans to make available next spring a “Pro Hijab,” done in black with signature Nike “swoosh” logo.
ka-dot prints and accented with lace. Their luxe looks were accessorized with statement sunglasses and D& G cocktail jewelry — as if to say these pieces weren’t fashionable or important until now.
It’s no surprise, though, that more brands are paying attention to Muslim women.
Fortune named them “the next big untapped fashion market,” referencing a Thomas Reuters report’s prediction that their spending is expected to exceed $484 billion by 2019.
Meanwhile, at New York Fashion Week in February, Indonesian fashion designer Anniesa Hasibuan became the first designer to show hijabs on the runway with every outfit.
Fashion has a bad habit of borrowing from other cultures and boiling down its observations into industry trends.
(For example: tribal prints, African head wraps, kimonos or even kitschy yoga tees with “Namaste In Bed” on them.)
The hijab is the latest garment that could be watered down for the masses, if designers aren’t careful.
But those who see its value culturally rather than just in currency have a better chance at getting it right.
Fashion borrows from other cultures. Could the hijab be fashion’s new accessory?