NEW YORK – Muslim women hijab and abaya have hit New York runway as Indonesian designers kicked off an increasingly diverse fashion week, to counter prejudice in the west.
“We’re not oppressed and we just want to show the world that we still can be beautiful and stylish with our hijab on,” designer Dian Pelangi, 26, who has 4.8 million followers on Instagram, told Agence France Presse (AFP) on Friday, September 8.
She was one of five Indonesian designers who presented collections at the show in Chelsea on the first day of fashion week.
The fashion week comes amid a rise in the so-called “modest fashion” targeting Muslim women.
Over the past months, the industry got more political, promoting diversity and acceptance of the other. Many saw it as a challenge to the rise in sentiments targeting the religious community in the US.
Vivi Zubedi, 30, is another Indonesian designer who felt moved to come partly because of Donald Trump, who has sought to restrict immigration from certain Muslim majority countries.
“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,” the Jakarta-based designer said.
Sewn onto the back of her colorful gowns were “Mekkah, Madinah, Jannah” – two sites of Muslim pilgrimage and the Arabic word for paradise – and the phrase “all colors matter.”
“I love the US every much and I have a lot of clients here,” Zubedi said. “Hijab is beautiful, we are all still human no matter what religion you are. We are still the same.”
Thursday’s show comes a year after Indonesia’s Anniesa Hasibuan broke new ground by staging the first New York runway show featuring models all wearing the hijab.