A “hijab” is a head covering worn by Muslim women as an “outer manifestation of an inner commitment to worship God”. Modest clothing is an extremely important aspect of Islam, and the hijab is a garment that fully embodies these ideas of modesty, dignity, and humility. Let it be known that Muslim women are not “forced” to wear the hijab. Rather, most women independently begin wearing this headscarf to worship God in the way that they feel is most necessary.
Recently, the hijab has been gaining a lot of attention from mainstream fashion designers and brands. For instance, the model and activist Halima Aden who became the first hijab-wearing model to appear on the front cover of a major American magazine in 2017, has made several appearances in hijabs since then on global fashion platforms like Nike and Vogue. In fact, if you google “models in hijabs”, you will most likely come across various pictures and articles about Halima Aden and the work that she has done in making fashion a more inclusive industry for Muslim women.
Unfortunately, as the hijab is becoming more accepted in the world of fashion, it is also being severely misinterpreted and fetishized. Some brands are ignoring the cultural background in which the hijab roots from. When people take on a “new” style without paying homage to the culture that created it, we run the risk of appropriating the item rather than appreciating it. When non-Muslim models walk down the catwalk wearing hijabs that have no purpose other than for fashion, it is a slap in the face to Muslim women who have had to deal with the stigmatization of the headpiece for so long.
As the hijab gains more prominence in the mainstream fashion world, it is important that we give Muslim women a chance to not only be represented on the catwalk, but for them to have a voice in how this head covering can and should be worn. Luckily, the fashion industry is becoming more accepting of non-Western cultures, and it is exciting to see what will come out of this new mindset.