Fashion Embraces the Hijab
Europe, namely France, has grappled controversially with the concept of the veil for many years now. But this season, fashion is saying hell yes to a woman's right to wear her hijab, whether it’s in a public school or on a catwalk. Women in headscarves are not an uncommon sight in Milan, a city that serves as the gateway to Europe for many Muslims who flock here seeking refuge and a better life.
Model Halima Aden on the Max Mara Ready To Wear Fall Winter 2017 Fashion Show in Milan (by Guillaume Roujas for NOWFASHION)
This season Halima Aden - the Somali-American model making a name for herself as a Muslim role model – broke out at Kanye West’s Yeezy show in New York wearing her signature hijab.
In Milan she has taken center stage on the runway at Alberta Ferretti and Max Mara, firmly demonstrating that the hijab is here to stay. “Embracing culture and diversity to break norms and change the thinking of modern-day fashion with Halima Aden,” said Alberta Ferretti on the brand’s Instagram. Halima Aden’s all black look at Ferretti, and her classic camel-colored wool ensemble – to match her headscarf - at Max Mara weren’t the only signs that designers are starting to champion a more covered up approach.
This is to be expected. Muslim women are major consumers of luxury goods - all the more reason brands should start representing them on the runway. The Middle East continues to become ever more prominent for the Italian luxury market. Arab consumers spent $320 billion on luxury fashion in 2016 and are expected spend about $490 billion in 2019. According to the Arab Fashion Council, Dubai will be the world’s leading fashion capital by 2030, helped by tourism from Russia and Asia.
In only three seasons, attendance at Arab Fashion Week grew from 3,000 to 16,000.
Meanwhile back in Europe, breaking gender and racial barriers has been known to sell glossies. The late Franca Sozzani made history for dedicating a whole issue of Italian Vogue to black models. Press reports also say that former French Vogue editor-in-chief Carine Roitfeld has been a mentor to Aden. In fact, the rising star recently shared the cover of CR Fashion Book's 10th issue with Paris Jackson.
With the fashion sector facing one if its most difficult years yet, more bold moves like these will be sure to follow. Stay tuned.