Halima Aden believes she wouldn’t have been embraced by the fashion industry five years ago.
The Somali-American model became the first person to wear a burkini and hajib in the Miss Minnesota USA competition back in 2016, and did the same on the cover of Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit Issue last year.
Halima has continued to break barriers for Muslim women by appearing on the cover of magazines, in campaigns and on runways, including the recent Tommy Hilfiger London Fashion Week presentation, in her modest headwear.
But as she didn’t see other hijab-wearing women in the fashion industry, the 22-year-old never thought she would be a model, and now, she’s thrilled to be bringing modest outfits into the mainstream.
“Before (I got the call from IMG Models), if you had asked me in 2015 or 2016 if I could have been a model, I would have told you no, that’s impossible,” she told Harpersbazaar.com. “When you don’t see something, it’s hard to visualise it. A career like that, for someone like me, didn’t exist. But… modesty has been around for so long. It is one of the oldest fashion staples. Modesty is in so many different cultures. It has stood the test of time. So, it is confusing that it took until 2016 to go mainstream, but I am so grateful that it did.”
Halima continued to state that the fact the fashion industry has accepted her, as well as a diverse range of models, goes to show how much it has evolved in recent years.
“It took the entire fashion community to embrace me, wrap its hands around me, and to say that you belong without asking me to conform… And if you really think about it, five years ago, I wouldn’t have a place in fashion – not in the way I do today,” she added.
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