New York Fashion Week: Designers challenge Donald Trump on the runway with hijab-wearing models

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From runways to magazine covers – the international fashion industry is slowly taking a progressive step towards an ‘all-inclusive’ environment. It all started last year with hijab-wearing Noor Tagouri, an American journalist, gracing the cover of Playboy’s October ‘Renegades’ edition. Then, earlier this year, Halima Aden created history as the first hijab-wearing cover girl on the cover of Vogue Arabia’s June edition. The feature came at a time when luxury brands like Dolce & Gabbana and Nike started designing hijabs, silk abayas and special sportswear for Muslim women. Of course, at the time of the launch it was just a move to celebrate beauty in all forms but things have turned political now.

Six Indonesian designers who presented their collections on the first day of the on-going New York Fashion Week has a special message for Donald Trump – who has sought to restrict immigration from certain Muslim majority countries.

According to AFP, one of the designers, Vivi Zubedi, who made her Fashion Week debut, said she felt moved to come partly because of Donald Trump. “Mr President, I love your country and also I love your people, and we will not (do) anything to you or your people. We are all the same, it’s about humanity.” She added, “Hijab is beautiful, we are all still human no matter what religion you are. We are still the same.”

Even though her collection was conservative with the signature black abaya taking centre stage, there were colourful gowns as well. Sewn on the back were ‘Mekkah, Madinah, Jannah’, the Arabic word for paradise and the phrase ‘all colours matter’.

Another designer, Dian Pelangi who derived inspiration from the bestselling book Humans of New York by US photographer Brandon Stanton showcased her designs hoping to change prejudices in the west.

She said, “We’re not oppressed and we just want to show the world that we still can be beautiful and stylish with our hijab on.”