Muslim models, designers how to navigate the complexity of hijab in fashion



Many companies have featured hijab-wearing models in their advertisements.

From the runways of Milan and New York to the covers of the biggest fashion magazines around the world, hijab-wearing models are defining the face of fashion.

A number of major brands such as Lululemon, Nike, Adidas and H&M are showing ads and clothing aimed at Muslim women, and some experts say this inclusion is just scratching the surface. Others say that in some cases, fashion companies’ push for diversity turns into tokenism.

“i think that [the hijab is] to stay here. The question is how that looks,” designer Renee Hill, a former “Project Runway contestant,” told ABC News.

When she recently walked the red carpet for H&M, Somali-Norwegian model Rawdah Mohamed told ABC News that the company made her adhere to her religious beliefs.

Muhammad said that responsibility often falls on her.

“So when you come as a model, you come in as a teacher, not just a model [and]You have so many roles,” she told ABC. “I have to make sure they understand my look and understand my culture and my religion and why this needs to be done the right way.”

“So even though it’s exhausting and I don’t want to do it … I understand that my responsibilities go beyond that, and I have more purpose in life than being a role model, taking pictures and going home,” she added.

Mohamed and other Muslim members of the fashion community have raised their voices internationally against the injustice of the hijab.

Iran’s mandatory hijab laws sparked protests after the death of Mahsa Amini, who was accused of improperly wearing her hijab according to government standards. Several hijab bans have been proposed in France.

“I’m afraid to walk the streets of Paris because you have politicians tweeting my name,” Mohamed said. “So they make me an enemy of the country’s government.”

In the year In 2021, Muhammad launched a social media campaign called #handsoffmyhijab, which many non-Muslim celebrities joined.

Fashion journalist Noor Tagore told ABC it was important to speak up for Muslim models and designers and take back the narrative.

“Fashion is a storyteller and storytelling is a very sacred tradition in Islam,” she told ABC. “When it comes to fashion, the stories are in there, in a representative, revolutionary representative way, because that’s how we really start to communicate with each other.”


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