New York Fashion Week had always been one of those classic New York City events to which I was an outsider. Not because I wasn’t interested in fashion, but because I felt like my style wasn’t included.
A common misconception about Hijab is that it is just a scarf that a Muslim woman wears around her head instead of around her neck. That’s not true. Hijab is a way of carrying yourself, a way a living. And how you dress is a big part of your Hijab— not just the scarf itself.
When I started wearing Hijab, I also thought it was a just a scarf, but it turned out to be much more complicated. I had to change my wardrobe and style, buy more maxi skirts and dresses, looser pants, longer shirts, long sleeve everything, and figure out how to organize hundreds of scarves. Not to mention, Hijab styling is an (underappreciated) art; a painful and delicate art.
I struggled to find modest fashion. Shirts and maxi skirts that weren’t see through, tight fitting, or with long slits were difficult to find. Maybe you could find them online, but finding the right size for someone as short as me was a perilous journey on its own.
So you can see why, when NYC Fashion Week rolled around, I wouldn’t bother. Modern fashion never cared for me or people like me— until now.
Although the current political atmosphere is tumultuous, casting its glare over Muslims among other minorities in America, it has brought about unification and loud statements in several communities, including the fashion community.
Anyone scrolling through their social media feed would have seen the posts about fashion designers making political statements with their clothing and runway fashions. T-shirts with statements like “I am an immigrant” and designers making the choice to diversify their models in race, ethnicity, religion, age, and size brings light to how many in the fashion industry feel about today’s political climate. There is unity in diversity.
If I had not been scrolling through my Facebook, I would never have learned that the runway was lucky enough to be graced by fellow Hijabista, Halima Aden. A Muslim, Somali-American, refugee, Halima Aden gave a voice to young Muslim women like me who wanted to be represented in the place they call home.
Halima Aden’s debut on NYC Fashion Week, modeling for Yeezy, combined with the fashion industry’s growing interest in ‘modest fashion’ will open doorways in expression through dress for Muslim men and women. It will also be an inspiration for Muslim artists who want to participate in their communities while staying true to their deen.