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9 Major Strides for Hijab & Modesty in the Mainstream

Posted on Feb 05, 2017
Melanie Elturk


"Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations." - Unknown

The past few years have been quite remarkable for hijab wearing women. Muslim women and hijab have made some major strides in different areas, including television, sports, and fashion. Slowly but surely, the negative stereotypes surrounding hijab are being crushed. 

We created a timeline of the recent major strides that put hijab on the map in the mainstrem. Take a look!

Amanda Saab competes in (haute) hijab on MasterChef - May 2015

Amanda Saab realized her passion for cooking at a young age. In the Spring of 2015, her love for food and her talent led her to compete on MasterChef on Fox, making her the show's first hijabi competitor. Through her accomplishments, Amanda has given hope to many Muslim women that they can go after their dreams (and even be on TV!) while wearing the hijab. Bonus: Amanda is a huge supporter of Haute Hijab and wore many HH's on the show including the Bora Bora Escape Wrap above!

Mariah Idrissi appears in H&M campaign - September 2015

Mariah Idrissi wearing hijab in the H&M campaign is noteworthy for a number of reasons. Mariah represents the millions of hijab-wearing women who have a love for modest fashion. The elegant, yet modest outfit that is displayed in the campaign not only normalizes the hijab but also proves that modesty is becoming mainstream.

A Dolce & Gabbana Abaya line is announced - January 2016

As 2016 rolled in, Dolce & Gabbana made headlines for introducing a new Abaya line. While the intentions behind the creation of the line might have been a little more economically driven than socially empowering, it still made a statement. The fact that an international luxury fashion designer chose to incorporate a religious theme into their designs is a major progressive stride for modest fashion, and inshAllah, the start of many more brands catering to the needs of Muslim women!

Burkini ban in France causes eruption, sales of burkini explodeJuly 2016

Unlike the other milestones, this one sprouted organically. In late July of 2016, the Mayor of Cannes, David Lisnard, banned the burkini on public beaches, inspiring many other municipalities to follow suit. However, many people did not like the concept of a government banning modest swimsuits based on a silly, nonsensical claim that they posed a security threat. They decided to protest this new law, and as a result, there was a major eruption in burkini sales. The backlash demonstrated the support-system that Muslim women have worldwide, and considering the intense social climate we are living in, was a breath of fresh air. 

Ibtihaj Muhammad is the first American hijabi to compete in the Olympics - August 2016

With all of Ibtihaj's accomplishments, she has no doubt become an icon to our generation. The New Jersey-born athlete took up fencing at a young age because it was one of the few sports that allowed her to wear a fully covered uniform and a hijab. Fast forward to 2016, Ibtihaj became the first hijabi to ever compete in the summer Olympic Games. Not only did she compete, but she went on to win the Bronze Medal for the United States! In addition to her professional fencing career, she serves as a sports ambassador for the U.S. Department of State’s "Empowering Women and Girls Through Sports" initiative. This enigmatic woman is an amazing role model for many young Muslim women who are passionate about sports, inspiring them to persevere and compete without compromising their faith and modesty.

Anniesa Hasibuan's NYFW show with all models in hijab - September 2016


Anniesa Hasibuan made history this past September as the first Muslim designer to showcase all her designs on a New York Fashion Week main stage in full hijab. The introduction of hijab to the NYFW audience was a major stride that showed hijab as a normal addition to a fashionable outfit. In a world where the normalization of the hijab has turned into the "white-washing" and "modernization" of it, Anniesa managed to stay true to Islam and the concept of modesty. She disrupted NYFW, and will no doubt have a huge impact on the fashion industry, and on many Muslim women as well. This milestone proves that staying true to who you are can be the most successful route and that you do not have to compromise your faith to make it big in the fashion industry.

Rahaf Khatib is the first hijabi to be featured on the cover of a mainstream American magazine - September 2016

Rahaf Khatib is a Dearborn native and mother of three children who has a passion for running. She made a bold move by reaching out to Women's Running lifestyle magazine in order to introduce them to the growing number of Muslim women athletes. The lack of media representation of Muslim women athletes caused the magazine to jump on the opportunity, and they featured Rahaf on their cover as a part of their “#LikeAGirl: 20 Incredible Stories of Women Who Are Changing the Game". For a mainstream lifestyle and health magazine to feature a hijabi in their magazine, let alone on their cover, is an amazing stride in creating a place of belonging for many Muslim women athletes. Rahaf has opened the door for Muslim women who are passionate about sports to compete while proudly maintaining their faith and modesty.

Nura Afia is the first Muslim (haute) hijabi to be signed by CoverGirl - November 2016

In late 2016, CoverGirl came out with their latest mascara, So Lashy! and chose Nura Afia to be a part of their diverse group of brand ambassadors for the #LashEquality campaign. Nura not only appeared in the CoverGirl commercial but was also featured on a huge billboard in New York City's Times Square! Her appearance both on commercials and in their ads normalizes hijab, gives Muslim girls someone to relate to, and paves the way for other brands to follow suit. Bonus: Nura is a huge supporter of HH and wears Haute Hijab's Premium Jersey Wrap in Orchid in the campaign! 

Halima Aden walks the Yeezy fashion show at NYFW in full hijab - February 2017

Halima Aden caught the country's attention last year when she was the first hijabi to compete in the Miss Minnesota Pageant. This year, she made waves once again, this time by being the first hijabi to be signed by IMG Models, and within five days, booking her first show at New York Fashion Week! She walked the high profile Yeezy runway show wearing hijab and a full-length fur coat. Halima breaks from standard ideas of beauty and proves that hijab can and will be making its way into mainstream fashion. She's also an example to all Muslim girls that one doesn't have to compromise her faith in order to succeed. This is just the start for Halima, and we can't wait to see where she pops up next! 

If you know of any other milestones that should be added to the list, let us know in the comments below! Together, let us continue to bring hijab into the mainstream and make 2017 our year!