How This Muslim Designer Made History at New York Fashion Week
Posted on Sep 13, 2016
Last night I witnessed history. In my front row seat, the lights dimmed and I wondered to myself whether Indonesian designer Anniesa Hasibuan would actually show her designs at New York Fashion Week the way she did at Istanbul Modest Fashion Week - in head to toe hijab.
Lights up, music on - the first model walked onto the runway. There she was, in full-on hijab and what a sight to see. Model after model in full hijab - in a stunning array of metallic and pastel hues, intricate lace, embellishments and plenty of traditional Indonesian jacquard fabric.
The audience, overwhelmingly not Muslim, showed their affection with a standing ovation at the end of the show. "I'd wear a hijab just to walk my dog!" exclaimed one excited onlooker, who like me, was in awe of the beauty we just witnessed.
Anniesa made history last night as the first Muslim designer to showcase all her designs on an NYFW runway in full-on, head-to-toe hijab. The show-stopping finale piece below elicited ooh's and aah's as the beautiful model took her time walking the runway with graceful strides.
Every design, uniquely different than the last, was finished with satin or chiffon neutral colored hijabs as well as elaborate necklaces and embellished neck pieces. Silhouettes included pleated ball skirts, kimono's over long dresses, peplum tops over sleek skirts, long overcoats and cropped jackets.
While many think fashion is frivolous, I believe in the power of fashion. It's just one of the outlets in which we make a cultural shift in today's society to normalize hijab in America - to break down stereotypes and demystify misconceptions. Last nights' show was a huge leap in that direction.
The implications of this groundbreaking show are poignant in today's political and social climate. Amidst the anti-Muslim rhetoric, Anniesa's trailblazing show informs the world that we are not slowing down. Muslim women are ever-present, proud to hold on to our beliefs and do it in style ;)
Immediately after the show ended, I ran up to Anniesa to express my gratitude and congratulate her on such a groundbreaking moment. Her eyes welled up with tears, I whispered in her ear, "You made history tonight." She looked at me lovingly, wiped a tear and gave me a hug. She knew it.