Halima Aden: ‘I wouldn’t have had a place in fashion five years ago’

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…

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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Halima Aden refused to walk in Yeezy show due to length of skirt

Halima Aden once refused to walk in a Yeezy show due to a disagreement over the length of her skirt.The Somali-American beauty was due to make her New York Fashion Week debut in Kanye West’s season five ready-to-wear show back in 2017, but in an interv…

Halima Aden once refused to walk in a Yeezy show due to a disagreement over the length of her skirt.

The Somali-American beauty was due to make her New York Fashion Week debut in Kanye West’s season five ready-to-wear show back in 2017, but in an interview with British newspaper The Observer, she recalled how the moment ended up being a watershed moment for her modelling career.

After Halima was presented with an outfit by the rapper’s team, she acknowledged it “was just not going to work” as the skirt sat above her knee.

“Even then I knew: walking away when something doesn’t fit is always better than feeling you need to force something,” the 22-year-old shared, adding that while she was disappointed, she felt empowered as she returned to her hotel. “And then, without having to say anything, they called back: ‘We have a second option.’ I tried it on, and it was perfect. I just knew it was a pivotal moment in my life.

“The people who you want to work with, they’re willing to work with you just the way you are.”

Halima went on to make her groundbreaking appearance in the show wearing a floor-length fur coat.

She also noted that later that same year, she walked for Max Mara in an outfit that was designed just for her.

Elsewhere in the interview, the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue star shared her plans to use her career to make a difference and emphasised how she wants to continue mixing her modelling with activism.

“My career in fashion is not just, ‘I want to work with this brand, I want to get on that catwalk.’ We’re not sitting here talking about ‘Buy this heel, because this heel will make you feel sexy,'” she fired. “I’m proud that I can say I combined fashion and activism. I can’t do one without the other.”

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Lewis Hamilton unveils latest Tommy Hilfiger line with star-studded London show

Tommy Hilfiger and Lewis Hamilton recruited many famous faces to model their latest designs at London Fashion Week on Sunday.The American designer unveiled his fourth collection in partnership with the Formula One driver, as well as their capsule colle…

Tommy Hilfiger and Lewis Hamilton recruited many famous faces to model their latest designs at London Fashion Week on Sunday.

The American designer unveiled his fourth collection in partnership with the Formula One driver, as well as their capsule collection with musician H.E.R., at the TOMMYNOW Spring 2020 show held at the Tate Modern in London on Sunday night, with celebrity guests including Billy Porter, Charli XCX, and Meghan Trainor.

The show featured a diverse, age, and size-inclusive mix of models from both sides of the Atlantic, ranging from ’90s British favourites Jodie Kidd, Yasmin Le Bon, and Erin O’Connor to newcomers such as Halima Aden, Alton Mason, and Jasmine Sanders. Other U.K. faces included Jourdan Dunn, Georgia May Jagger, and Karen Elson, while international models included Winnie Harlow, Alessandra Ambrosio, and Candice Swanepoel.

The famous faces on the runway vastly outnumbered those sitting front row, with the show also featuring celebrity relatives such as Helena Christensen and Norman Reedus’ son Mingus, Kate Moss’ sister Lottie, Liam Gallagher’s son Lennon, Bob Geldof’s daughter Pixie, and Christy Turlington’s nephew James.

The genderless ‘See Now, Buy Now’ collection was the most sustainable TommyxLewis release to date, with 75 per cent of the line using more sustainable production methods, including organic cotton, recycled fabric, and low-impact denim washes.

Naomi Campbell opened the show wearing a neon yellow and beige tracksuit with chunky high-top sneakers. A number of streetwear looks followed, before the collection focused on preppy outfits heavily featuring nautical stripes and the stars and stripes of the U.S. flag, with Ambrosio wearing a crisp navy blue blazer over the top of a white and blue striped shirt, worn as a dress, and a white jumper.

Hamilton linked arms with Campbell as he walked down to the catwalk with Hilfiger and H.E.R. to give the final bow.

“Thanks to @thomasjhilfiger, @hermusicofficial, all my amazing models including @naomi and of course to everyone at @tommyhilfiger,” he wrote on Instagram. “It’s been such a journey to create our most sustainable collection to date, but it’s something I’m so proud that we’ve been able to achieve. Feeling very grateful for all our hard work today.”

London Fashion Week continues on Monday with presentations from Burberry, JW Anderson, and Erdem.

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Halima Aden takes her own clothes to fashion shoots

Halima Aden takes her own clothes to photoshoots in case she’s uncomfortable with any of the outfits.The Somali-American model is well known for her strict approach to dressing modestly, and refuses to remove her hijab for shoots, even wearing the head…

Halima Aden takes her own clothes to photoshoots in case she’s uncomfortable with any of the outfits.

The Somali-American model is well known for her strict approach to dressing modestly, and refuses to remove her hijab for shoots, even wearing the head covering for her groundbreaking appearance in last year’s Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue.

In a new interview with British newspaper The Observer, Halima revealed that she takes her own clothes along to jobs so she can remain comfortable in front of the camera.

“It’s not because I don’t think people are going to listen – it’s more so they know what to expect. I always bring extras – my own set of turbans, turtlenecks, tights – because it’s a collaboration,” she explained. “I also recognise that for a lot of people, in my first year especially, I was the only hijab-wearing girl they’d worked with. So, they’re not going to necessarily know 100 per cent what to expect, just like I didn’t know what to expect with fashion, because it’s not the world that I come from.”

While the fashion industry has been called out by critics over a lack of diversity in the last few years, the 22-year-old, who was the first hijab-wearing model to walk the catwalk at New York Fashion Week, insisted her career should serve as a reminder as to how far the industry has come.

“The fact that I’m able to do runway, the fact that I have graced these magazine covers and wear a hijab on top of that, be who I am, have my identity, wear it proudly… I think fashion is doing a beautiful job,” Halima added.

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Halima Aden fronting campaign for Bottletop

Halima Aden has been tapped to front a campaign for sustainable fashion brand Bottletop.Co-founded by Cameron Saul and Oliver Wayman, the London-based label is known for its handbags and accessories made from upcycled bottle tops lined with leather off…

Halima Aden has been tapped to front a campaign for sustainable fashion brand Bottletop.

Co-founded by Cameron Saul and Oliver Wayman, the London-based label is known for its handbags and accessories made from upcycled bottle tops lined with leather offcuts.

Now, Saul and Wayman have teamed with fashion designer Narciso Rodriguez on a collaboration, including the new Halima and Denise handbags, with Aden starring into the accompanying imagery.

“Our planet is running out of resources so let’s all choose to support brands that are committed to protecting our environment and communities,” the 22-year-old said. “This is why I’m excited to announce I’m the new face and ambassador of Bottletop. Working with Bottletop helps empower disadvantaged women through creation of fashion accessories in Nepal, Brazil, and Kenya. The grassroot organisations and partnerships gives them self-respect and the opportunity to provide for their children and families, they learn a new skill and in turn, it brings the community closer.”

The Halima and Denise handbags are made from Zero Deforestation leather and feature recycled ring pulls. They are available in two sizes and in bordeaux red and black colourways. Halima is priced at $850 (£658), while Denise retails at $650 (£502).

Accordingly, Saul noted that he and the Bottletop team are thrilled to be working with Aden, especially as they both have roots in Kenya. The Somali-American model was born in the Kakuma refugee camp after her family fled Somalia during the civil war, while the first-ever Bottletop collaboration with local artisans also took place in the nation.

“We are so inspired by Halima’s commitment to challenging societal attitudes, empowering women and young people and making change. Much like Halima, Bottletop strives to break barriers by harnessing the power of fashion and creativity to address key issues globally; to create conversation, drive empowerment, and make change. We cannot think of a better person to represent our work and mission,” he added.

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Halima Aden: ‘My mother doesn’t understand why representation is important’

Halima Aden’s mother doesn’t understand why representation is so important to her daughter.The Somali-American model was born in the Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya before her family relocated to the U.S. when she was seven years old, and she has since go…

Halima Aden’s mother doesn’t understand why representation is so important to her daughter.

The Somali-American model was born in the Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya before her family relocated to the U.S. when she was seven years old, and she has since gone on to break barriers for Muslim women, by becoming the first person to wear a burkini and hajib in the Minnesota Miss USA competition in 2016 and on the cover of Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit Issue last year.

While Halima is glad she is helping Muslim women feel represented by her fashion work, she has now revealed that her mother isn’t quite as enthusiastic, and she believes this is because she didn’t have to cope with being in the minority while growing up.

“My mother doesn’t understand why representation is so important to me,” she told Essence magazine. “Of course, she wants the same things for me that all parents want for their children – that I be of service, be a good person, lead an honest life, work hard, and get an education. But, at the same time, she doesn’t know the struggle I faced growing up in America and being in spaces where I was the only hijab-wearing girl or the only girl who looked like me.”

And Halima is thrilled that she has been given a platform to make Muslim women, and women of colour, feel more visible and confident in themselves.

“It’s important for me to be visible and to do whatever I can to let girls know that they don’t have to change who they are,” the 22-year-old said. “I want them to know the world will meet them exactly where they stand.”

Halima is now working with officials at the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to speak out on behalf of displaced children. Accordingly, she sees the opportunity as a way to give back to the workers at the organisation who helped her in Kakuma.

“I think if you receive a blessing, you shouldn’t think of it as yours to keep. It’s more like a loan. Like, I got my wish. Now I have to pay it forward. If we all paid it forward, the world would be a much better place… I think this is the reason I am here,” she shared.

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Halima Aden tackles misconceptions about hijabs

Halima Aden has tackled some common misconceptions about hijab wearers.The Somali-American star rose to fame in 2016 when she became the first contestant to wear a burkini and hijab, or veil, in the Miss Minnesota USA pageant, and in April 2019, made h…

Halima Aden has tackled some common misconceptions about hijab wearers.

The Somali-American star rose to fame in 2016 when she became the first contestant to wear a burkini and hijab, or veil, in the Miss Minnesota USA pageant, and in April 2019, made history when she posed in modest clothing for Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit Issue.

Now, in a new interview for the January/February 2020 issue of Essence magazine, Halima explained that wearing a headscarf is just one way for Muslim women to practice modesty.

“Sometimes I think when people think of hijabs they think it has to be a black scarf, it has to be really basic. Just an abaya,” she said in a behind-the-scenes video from her photoshoot, in which she made history as the first black female cover star to wear a hijab for the publication. “So, I want girls to know, whether you wear hijab or not, you can still look modest. Modesty is not just for one specific group of women.”

Halima then went on to note that she hopes her photoshoot with Essence, in which she models an array of colourful outfits, will inspire others to stick to their beliefs.

“I think (this photoshoot) will hopefully inspire the little girls in my community. And hopefully they’ll get the message that you don’t have to change who you are, you don’t have to conform. There’s enough people who are willing to accept you, to work with you, just the way that you are,” the 22-year-old said.

Elsewhere in her chat, Halima insisted she is pleased she wore a burkini during her first beauty pageant, especially in light of officials at seaside towns in France banning this particular kind of swimsuit, amidst ongoing controversy about Islamic dress in public.

“Burkinis were not allowed on public beaches. That is something that affects a lot of women. I wanted to tell girls in my community, ‘If I can wear a burkini onstage alongside women who are walking in bikinis, there is no reason you should opt out of swimming.’ A burkini is just another form of swimsuit,” she added.

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Halima Aden was inspired by lack of representation in fashion

Halima Aden was inspired to “do something” when she became aware of the lack of representation of Muslim women in fashion.The 22-year-old has landed a series of firsts in her career so far, including becoming the first model wearing a hijab to grace th…

Halima Aden was inspired to “do something” when she became aware of the lack of representation of Muslim women in fashion.

The 22-year-old has landed a series of firsts in her career so far, including becoming the first model wearing a hijab to grace the covers of Vogue Arabia and Allure magazine and walk a runway show during New York Fashion Week.

And earlier this year, she became the first Muslim model to appear on the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue wearing a burkini and hijab.

In an interview with InStyle, Halima shared that she was determined to help improve representation for Muslim women.

“Growing up I didn’t see representation – anywhere,” Halima said. “If you don’t see yourself represented, do something about it. Don’t just wait for someone to come along and represent you!”

She was born and raised in Kakuma, a refugee camp in Kenya where her family settled after fleeing from the civil war in Somalia, and moved to the U.S. at the age of seven.

She was inspired to push herself to become the first model to give other young Muslim girls a feeling of representation, and called her appearance in Sports Illustrated “a dream come true.”

“Growing up in the States, I never really felt represented because I never could flip through a magazine and see a girl who was wearing a hijab,” she explained. “So many young girls and women around the world look up to me; they know they can challenge themselves too. It’s about taking ownership as a young woman… Being the first is amazing, but it means nothing without a third and a fourth.”

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Halima Aden: ‘Hijab wearers use hair products’

Halima Aden is adamant hijab wearers use just as many hair products as other women.The Somali-American star rose to fame in 2016 when she became the first contestant to wear a burkini and hijab, or veil, in the Miss Minnesota USA pageant, and in April …

Halima Aden is adamant hijab wearers use just as many hair products as other women.

The Somali-American star rose to fame in 2016 when she became the first contestant to wear a burkini and hijab, or veil, in the Miss Minnesota USA pageant, and in April 2019, made history when she posed in modest clothing for Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit Issue.

However, in a new video for Allure.com, Halima made a point of addressing the myth that those who wear the hijab don’t worry too much their locks.

“Another thing most people don’t know is, you need a good hairspray. I really like the CHI Enviro 54 Hairspray to hold my hair in place after I put it in a ponytail,” she commented. “A misconception is that hijabis don’t care of their hair, and baby, I have just as many hair products as any other girl.”

Halima went on to explain that she seeks out hydrating formulas for her strands and is a fan of any product containing Moroccan or argan oil. For instance, after a long flight she will use a hair product such as SheaMoisture’s Raw Shea Butter Deep Treatment Masque to really revitalise her tresses.

“My hair is very dry. And I wear the hijab, so I need to have a good hair regimen – like my skin,” the 22-year-old shared. “I am obsessed with SheaMoisture. After coming home from a long trip, I drench my hair in this and I leave it on for like 30 minutes. And afterwards, my hair just feels so smooth and back to life.”

To protect her locks, Halima prefers not to use a hairdryer and instead allows her hair to air-dry, and she is passionate about getting her edges just right.

“Another hijabi must-have, or (for) any girl, is edge control. Edge control is absolutely necessary. You have to lay down the baby hairs, I don’t care what hair texture you have, a good edge control is a must-have,” she enthused.

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Ashley Graham honoured to walk in fashion show while pregnant

Ashley Graham was honoured to walk in Tommy Hilfiger and Zendaya’s New York Fashion Week show while pregnant. The model announced she was expecting her first child with husband Justin Ervin back in August, and she hasn’t been letting pregnancy get in t…

Ashley Graham was honoured to walk in Tommy Hilfiger and Zendaya’s New York Fashion Week show while pregnant.

The model announced she was expecting her first child with husband Justin Ervin back in August, and she hasn’t been letting pregnancy get in the way of her busy schedule.

The 31-year-old made her first catwalk appearance since announcing the exciting news during the Tommy X Zendaya presentation outside the Apollo Theater in Harlem on Sunday night and rocked a black polka dot dress with a thigh-high slit and oversized belt, six-inch heels, houndstooth scarf, and hat.

Sharing snaps from the runway on her Instagram account, Ashley gushed over the experience.

“What a night!! This show was so memorable, exhilarating and truly inspiring @tommyhilfiger @zendaya & @luxurylaw, thank you for including me!” she wrote in the caption. “I am so grateful and proud to have been a part of such an incredible show. Thank you for honouring the importance of inclusion by representing so many different women on your runway and showing that beauty comes in many forms. I could have never imagined the feeling of walking a runway pregnant, it was truly an honour for us to be there!”

Euphoria actress Zendaya thanked Ashley for her appearance in the comments, adding, “It was an honour.” British model Adwoa Aboah posted, “HERO!!! Preggerzzzz Goals (sic)”, while Lily Aldridge wrote, “Yessssssss so major!!!”

In addition to the show, Ashley was sat front row at Christian Siriano’s spring 2020 presentation and attended a Harper’s Bazaar party.

The second and final part of designer Hilfiger’s collaboration with Zendaya was a nod to the ’70s and featured a diverse range of models including Leomie Anderson, Winnie Harlow, Soo Joo Park, Halima Aden, and Candice Swanepoel.

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