For about a decade, mainstream fashion has been going through somewhat of a rebirth. There has been a growing movement of young Muslim women reclaiming the idea of the hijab, even when the instinct might have been to shed any outward evidences that might give themselves away as being “one of them.” They’re instead breaking the cliché, and it seems designers, stores and fashionistas alike are finally catching on.
H&M’s recent ad featuring model Mariah Idrissi dressed in a hijab is a prime example of it. She’s wearing a headscarf at a time when prevailing connotations of Muslim women often involve subjugation and violent conflict. The ad reminds us that the mainstream image of the everyday Muslim woman has largely been negative, but is shifting as she works to reduce the dissonance that exists between her — a woman who reads John Steinbeck and eats pizza — and “her” — a foreign figure of repression and ritual. Hijabi women are redefining how the world sees them, and they’re refusing to drop their traditional attire in the process. So now when you type “hijabi” into Google images, you can see a girl in a hijab sitting on a park bench, on the subway or in her baby pink bedroom. […]
The H&M ad is all about subcultures, most of which have had their own version of overcoming stereotypes. By bringing them all together, they give each a new context where being “other” means being included. You need only to take public transit in any major city to know that it’s not a new concept. It’s life.
Tajima is confident that by next year, we’ll be able to list several other brands wanting to share their wares with stylish hijabi women. And when it happens, it won’t be surprising or groundbreaking, but it will be a new kind of normal, and that will be a good thing.
Article by: Hana Tajima, October 16th 2015
Photo: Model Mariah Idrissi. Courtesy of H&M/YouTube
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