Rise of the hijab
London girl Mariah Idrissi, the first model to wear a hijab, shares the tale of her foray into the fashion world
Mariah Idrissi has become an overnight social media sensation. But how did the London girl manage to surprise the fashion world? The 23-year-old model, who is half Moroccan and half Pakistani, was discovered by one of the casting directors of H&M, and became the first hijab-wearing model for the brand.
“I got a call from one of the model scouts, also a friend of mine, asking me to feature in a new ad campaign. I asked her, ‘Are you sure that they know that I wear a Hijab?’” shares Mariah, who has a fashion blog and an Instagram account that promotes hijab fashion. “It is my way of telling the world that you can be traditional and fashionable at the same time,” she says.
The advertisement that Mariah features in tries to highlight the online rise of hijab-wearing fashion bloggers and Instagram stars. She is also a part of a video campaign titled Close the Loop, which promotes the idea of sustainable fashion — recycling of clothes. Ever since the commercial and the video released, Mariah’s followers on social media have doubled.
“I’ve always felt that women who wear a hijab are ignored when it comes to fashion, so I wanted to change that perception,” says Mariah, who stresses on the thought that one doesn’t need to take off clothes to look good. “Who says you can’t look good when you’re covered? You can still have a personality and wear a headscarf,” she adds.
Taking the hijab along on this fashion journey hasn’t been an easy task for Mariah, as the model-blogger faced negative comments, especially from other Muslim women. “The media portrays Islam negatively, but things get worse when Muslims themselves strengthen the perception, by saying that women shouldn’t be doing this, and that I wasn’t dressed modestly... There is a deeper meaning behind the hijab which I’m also trying to put forward because even I know that a hijab is not for fashion,” says Mariah.
I’ve always felt that women who wear a hijab are ignored when it comes to fashion, so I wanted to change that perception. Who says you can’t look good when you’re covered? You can still have a personality and wear a headscarf
Mariah Idrissi, model