H&M recently did an ad featuring models represented from a variety of backgrounds from sikh men (followers of Sikhism) and transgender women to veiled muslim women. The ad was to show that H&M is taking a different perspective in marketing. They made the point that these models represented unmarketed areas that happened to actually be one of the most important places to do so.
H&M particularly marketed to Muslim women because, as the ad stated, “Muslims are expected to spend a massive 484 billion dollars on clothing and footwear by 2019.”
Not only did H&M break open the gate of marketing to a new audience, but they also broke standards of what models should look like. One of the first Muslim models for H&M to wear a hijab, Mariah Idrissi, is slowly on her rise to fame. Before this ad, Idrissi was already modeling and owned a local salon in Morocco. When the ad went viral, Idrissi was featured on various networks, BBC and NBC amongst them. The world welcomed the ad and gave much love and support for Idrissi.
Idrissi tweeted recently, “Goals: to create the bridge between modesty and fashion. It’s 2015, time for us to be included in the fashion world.”
When junior exercise science major Micaela Howson was asked what hijabs represented, she responded, “I think part of their culture and religious beliefs stresses modesty.”
It’s important to remember that hijabs represent a belief of the Muslim faith and culture first and foremost, not a fashion trend. Muslim women wear hijabs after puberty to show their devotion to God. On the flipside, some Muslim women don’t wear a hijab for religious reasons but for cultural reasons to show their pride for their country.
Muslim women have been thought of throughout centuries as oppressed or silenced. To test these theories out, Buzzfeed had four of their employees wear hijabs for a day. The most obvious conclusion from the experiment was that every lady who participated had eyes watching her every second.
These ladies realized that there was a negative feeling for women who wear hijabs, as if we should feel sorry for them because of the stereotypes we put on them. Not only was there a sad feeling from some people, other people seem to stare because wearing a scarf on your head seems to be absurd. After the day was over, one of the ladies in the experiment expressed their view on the hijab, “I like the things that it represents. If those things are being humble, being intellectual, and being equal.”
Not only does a hijab represent a Muslim woman’s culture and country, but it has a deeper meaning. Muslim women want their intellect to show first before their looks. This is their way of showing equality with men.
Junior business major, Dikchhya Karki commented on muslim women saying, “I don’t know much about them, but when I see a lady wearing a hijab I think they value their family and culture more than what society thinks of them.”
Idrissi is just one of many successful Muslim women willing to go the extra mile to break down barriers so that misconceptions about Muslims can be tossed out. Idrissi has done this through her salon and through modest modeling.
Idrissi, along with transgender woman and sikh men, are on a revolutionary road to bringing unity to all different countries.
Naomi is a junior studying chemistry and pre-med.