So here it is, listen up y’all hijabis, niqabis and modest-wear loving girls:
We all know how modest-wear has taken the fashion world by storm with major fashion houses like Dolce and Gabbana and Atelier Versace (ss14 collection) jumping on the bandwagon.
I mean who hasn’t heard of Mariah Idrissi, a public speaker and the first hijabi model in the world to have been picked up by H&M for their 2015 “Close The Loop” campaign, or of Halima Aden the 19 year old Somali model who, once a semi-finalist for Miss Minnesota, is now set to be a judge for Miss USA 2017. Halima, a Muslim girl who grew up in a refugee camp, has come a long way from her humble beginnings and as a hijabi model has walked for the likes of MaxMara, Alberta Ferreti and Yeezy, setting the ramp on fire at the 2016 Milan Fashion Week and the London Modest Fashion Week. With her face being a part of the Fenty Beauty campaign, even Queen RiRi has taken notice. This charming girl has graced the covers of Allure (The first hijabi to do so), Vogue Arabia and the Modist, and with Nike signing her on in August 2017 this dark beauty has blazed the trail for Muslim models and has allowed the hijab to set a firm foot on the international fashion runways.
Among all the discrimination and hijab/niqab bans due to the supposed ‘oppression’ of Muslim women in the West, Girls like Noor Tagouri who plans on becoming the first hijab wearing US anchorwoman, shocked one and all by posing for the October 2016 Renegades issue of Playboy. Covered head to toe and sporting an olive green hijab and a fierce expression, this 23 year old journalist triggered the trending hashtag #LetNoorShine on twitter.
While we’re at it, lets not forget social media makeup, beauty and fashion gurus like Amenakin, owner of PearlDaisy and co-founder of Ardere cosmetics, a L’Oreal Glam Squad ambassador and one of the faces of L’Oreal’s “True Match” campaign. Endorsed by Bobbi Brown, TooFaced and Clarins amongst others, this young mum has managed to shatter all stereotypes that say that you have to show skin to be successful in the beauty industry
Another social media influencer with more than 1.3 million followers on instagram is Dina Torkia (@Dina Tokio) who has graced the cover of Blogosphere magazine, is a YouTube #CreatorForChange and has her own fashion line. Dina, with her unique style and quirky personality has made it crystal clear that #youraveragemuslim is not so average after all.
Interesting as all this may be, whats the point of all this info dump you must be asking by now. What I’m trying to get to is that, if modest fashion designers like Dian Pelangi, Anniesa Hasibuan and Vivi Zubedi can showcase the glory of modest fashion with hijab wearing models at New York Fashion Week, then why is it that in a Muslim majority country like Pakistan, there isn’t a single, not ONE mainstream hijabi model or an Islamic fashion house? Feeling skeptical of this claim? Just go ahead and ask Google baap. Its disheartening to see that even with the Telegraph UK reporting Islamic fashion to be the industry’s fastest growing sector, the fashion and media industry of Pakistan still seem to follow the motto of ‘the more revealing, the better’, leaving thousands of young hijabi girls without any representation.
There is however, one silver lining to this particular dark cloud: Instagram
Hijabi bloggers from Pakistan are using this social media platform to step in and fill the void left by our media and beauty industry. Girls of all ages and belonging to all walks of life, from arts and philosophy to medicine are showing what it means to be a trendy hijabi and dispelling the myth that you can’t be fashion forward AND drape yourself modestly. Names like Hunaina Rasool,(18 year old CEO and founder of SonrieHunaina), Tahleel G. Khan, Aamna (better known as the hijab globetrotter), Kanwal Anes Ahmed (founder of Soul Sisters Pakistan), Mahvesh Fatima (the Thai-Pakistani beauty), Zahra, Huda Z. (Writer and Hijabi activist), Binte Abid, The quirky cute Mariyam Bint-E-Younus, Fizzah Rajput, the hijab stylist and MUA Afshan Khan and numerous others who are just regular #flawsome girls, are making it easier for hijab wearing Pakistanis to feel like a part of an inclusive community.
Where major fashion houses in Pakistan still fail to tap into this growing market, small brands and businesses seem to have recognized the hidden potential of this large group of consumers resulting in numerous online hijab and abaya stores popping up, as well as emerging small scale modest-style businesses. Are they enough to fulfill the requirements of these thousands of females in Pakistan, though? Not yet, in my opinion. But as they say, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Only time will tell whether mainstream media picks up on this trend that is gaining popularity due to modest/hijabi fashion bloggers.
For now all I can say is, more power to you amazing ladies and here’s to hoping that 2018 will bring with it a #modestfashionrevolution in Pakistan’s fashion, media and beauty industry