6 Global Designers That Championed Hijabs On The Runway
There's a fine line between tributes and cultural appropriation, which side do these looks take?
Zahra at Aalto Fall 2019 RTW. Images in this article retrieved from Vogue.com
In recent years, we have started seeing Muslim hijabi models such as Halima Aden walking for international fashion weeks where major designers have included modest garment on their catwalks. Inspired by Middle Eastern culture, and the region’s shopping habits, luxury designers have also taken to creating Ramadan and Eid collections specifically for the modest woman with a flair for fashion. Dolce & Gabbana were one of the first to design a luxe abaya and hijab in their coveted prints in 2016, and labels such as Michael Kors, followed suite.
With major fashion houses taking a note to be inclusive and cater to their Muslim clientele with their ready to wear collections, we also saw many honor the symbol of modesty and Middle Eastern culture across the runways of Paris, London and Milan – some more controversial than others… Take a look!
Images retrieved from Vogue.com
Hussein Chalayan S/S 1998
In 1998, London-based designer, Hussein Chalayan staged a show in which he took an unorthodox stance for his minimalist spring collection. This particular show took an unflinching look at the status of Muslim women and how something as simple the length of a hemline could convey so much meaning. Models wore chadors in a variety of lengths – from floor length to not even fully covering the model’s face. Completely naked underneath, it was one of the decade’s most infamous fashion images.
Rick Owens F/W 2002
For his F/W 2002 runway collection, Rick Owens took a modest stance as his models wore oversized knitted maxi dresses, wide leg pants, edgy tailoring, his signature leather jackets and more notably, a head covering resembling a hijab. Every piece spoke to the modest woman.
Givenchy Fall Couture 2009
Givenchy’s Fall Couture 2009 collection saw Riccardo Tisci take inspiration from the Moroccan, Berber tribespeople, and married the elaborate cultural nod with equestrianism. But what stood out the most against all the tailoring, padded shoulders and velvet, bodice, pant suits was the veiled and draped silhouettes, featuring gold embroidery with a strong Middle Eastern influence as models wearing the modest head covering and gold facial, and neck jewelry stole the show.
Dolce & Gabbana S/S 2016
Since 2016, Italian fashion house, Dolce & Gabbana have been creating Ramadan collections using their signature seasonal prints and classic lace motifs they are so well known for, but a modest dress with a matching head scarf also made an appearance in their S/S 2016 show…
Gucci F/W 2018
In 2018, Alessandro Michele’s F/W collection sparked some controversy as “religious” garments made appearances down the runway, including a turban that resembled something often worn by Sikh men and the hijab. Taking it as a sign of diversity, the label as also implemented a team within the business that focuses on religious and cultural inclusivity.
Marine Serre S/S 2019
Better known for her moon printed body suits, Marine Serre’s unique and recognizable aesthetic knows no limits as her creativity speaks volumes. One of the most iconic accessories celebrated by modest fashionistas, was the designer’s veiled cap – a merging of the streetwear cap with a nod to the hijab, making runway looks all the more interesting and attainable for hijabi women willing to push fashion boundaries.