Hijab-Wearing Fashion Model Shares Her Experiences29 Jun 2020
By the experiences of most Muslim women, the fashion industry is one that offers them a limited place. Although designs and looks inspired by Muslim art styles have grown in prominence over recent years, Muslim models, especially those wearing the hijab, are a rare occurrence, especially in the West.
That is why when Hanan Ibrahim became Melbourne Fashion Festival’s first Muslim model to wear a hijab, she also made history.
Hanan now speaks of her experiences and how her life changed since she moved from her previous job as a radiation therapist.
“I never imagined that a woman who wears a hijab would – or could – be used as a model”
Speaking to the fashion magazine, Stellar, the 27-year-old says that she has never imagined that a woman wearing the hijab like her could be a model. Hanan says that she was often told that she should be a model but always viewed such comments as nothing but a passing compliment.
Only after attending a runway show in February 2018 did she start considering the possibility. In that show, she was approached by a talent scout. The consideration, she said, gave her the push to pursue something that she always felt was a distant dream, especially in Australia where Muslim models are rare in general.
She halted her full-time work as a radiation therapist and started taking casual jobs to help her focus on modelling, culminating in being asked by a designer to walk for the Melbourne Fashion Festival. She hasn’t looked back since.
“Ever since I’ve been on that runway, I’ve just loved it so much”
“To work in an industry that many of us young Muslim girls have never felt represented in is a huge honour and privilege,” Hanan says about her experiences so far.
She said that she never expected the kind of warm welcome she received from the fashion world, given the industry’s well-known difficulties accepting people’s differences.
However, she says that she has been openly accepted and her style received warmly. She feels that Australia, and especially Melbourne, has made great strides towards accepting diversity. She hopes that this process can continue.
“It would mean the world to me if I can inspire even one young girl and make her feel less alone in a world that has been designed to separate us – but is slowly shifting to one that is celebratory of our differences.”