The fashion industry still has a long way to go toward inclusivity, but one of the people helping pave the way is Halima Aden. The hijab-wearing model just made her fashion month debut this past winter on the runways for fall 2017, and she did so with the confidence of a veteran.
After famously winning the Miss Minnesota USA pageant wearing a hijab and burkini, she became the first ever woman to walk in a New York Fashion Week show wearing a hijab at the Yeezy Season 5 show, and at Max Mara and Alberta Ferretti in Milan. Not to mention, in early 2017 she landed her first big ad campaign with London- and Dubai-based e-commerce brand The Modist, which specializes in luxury conservative clothing and modest wear.
Now she’s breaking another boundary as the first-ever hijab-wearing woman to appear on the cover of Allure. Earlier, Condé Nast Traveler featured Senegalese TV anchor Oumy Ndour wearing a hijab as well in its Africa issue.
In a video from the photo shoot for Allure, Aden opens up about her journey and how she’s seen the industry change along the way. In between teaching other Muslim women how to strike a pose at “Halima’s School of Modeling,” Aden shares her thoughts on the current state of fashion.
“Now the industry is celebrating women across the board, from all different regions, all different backgrounds, all different walks of life,” she says. “That’s something we need to celebrate.” The data bears her out: the Fall 2017 runway shows were made up of 27.9 percent models of color, according to site The Fashion Spot.
Aden has already become an icon for all walks of life, as she explains in the video clip. “I don’t just want to support only Muslim women,” she says. “I want to inspire women across the board, and I’m hoping they won’t allow things to get in the way.”
Another aspect of her day job that Aden loves, she explained, is having the chance to connect with so many different kinds of people. “My favorite part of modeling is backstage,” Aden says in the clip. “Every day you work with different people. And as much as people learn my story, I get to learn about theirs.”