Hijab on runway takes fashion forward

With Athleisure being one of the biggest trends of this decade, the Nike Hijab is truly an example of how one can balance heritage with modernity.

By Sujata Assomull

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Published: Sat 11 Nov 2017, 6:00 PM

Last updated: Sat 11 Nov 2017, 8:42 PM

When people ask me what I do, I am not sure what to say: Fashion Editor, Fashion Critic or Fashion Commentator? Thanks to social media anyone and everyone can have an opinion and they have a medium to broadcast it. Since fashion to most people simply means clothes, everyone seems to have an opinion on it. Which is why most of the time my role entails listing. For instance, where to find the best five black dresses. Or if I am lucky and there are international designers in town, I might get some space to interview them. A couple weeks ago I was lucky enough to have coffee with Godfrey Deeny. He is considered to be among the best, and truly a fashion veteran. Currently, he is the editor-in-chief of FashionNetwork.com. Having worked at Women's Wear Daily, Le Figaro and Vogue Hommes International he has really lived the life of a front row critic. As friendly as the Paris-based Irish man, Deeny does not mince his words. "I am happy to be known as one of the few people who tell it as it is," he said.
Good, but it is his thoughts on the current love of fashion exhibitions at fashion museums that really hit home.
A lot of museums worldwide host shows related to fashion and costume shoes. Currently London's Victoria and Albert Museum is running Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion. New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art recently looked at the work of designer Rei Kawakabo, and Musee des Arts Decoratifs (part of Louvre) in Paris is holding a retrospective look at work of French Couture house Christian Dior.
Interestingly, these shows attract more visitors than most other art and design based shows that run at the museums. Clothes, as Deeny pointed out, represent the "aesthetics of our time". They tell a story. Visit any of these shows and you will really understand a time in history.
This is the importance of fashion. With all the listicles, the worst- and best-dressed compilations, and products pages that have become a part of everyday work at the newspaper, this is something I seem to have forgotten.
Let's take the Nike Hijab as an example. It was launched earlier this year, and at the recent edition of Fashion Forward Dubai, Saudi designer Mashael Al Rajhi tied up with the sportswear brand to put the hijab on the runway. This truly represents a moment in time. The fact that international brands now recognise the need to respect and work with the region is fascinating. It is in large part due to the region's economic importance but it's not just about money. The increased focus to attune fashion trends in the region with the predominant culture shows that women here are truly proud of their heritage.
With Athleisure being one of the biggest trends of this decade, the Nike Hijab is truly an example of how one can balance heritage with modernity. It also represents the fact that women from this region are now focusing on their fitness, their health and mantra of self-love. It clears the distinction between being modest yet independent. It speaks of the new Middle East. It is intriguing and exciting the rest of the world, and is the reason why a brand like Nike would look at the hijab and an eminent critic such as Deeny would come to Dubai and sit through shows at FFWD.
 Sujata Assomull is the Consulting Fashion Editor at Khaleej Times

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