Feeling that the fashion world clashed with her Muslim values, Halima Aden, the first supermodel to wear hijab has ripped up her lucrative contracts in the fashion industry to preserve her faith.
“Since I was a little girl, this quote – ‘don’t change yourself, change the game’ – has gotten me through so much in life,” she told journalists in an interview in Istanbul, Agence France Presse (AFP) reported.
“When I took the decision to quit, that is exactly what I did,” she said. “So I am very, very proud.”
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Quitting modeling profession, Aden entered the design world in Istanbul, designing collections exclusively for the Turkish online Modanisa brand.
“What I love the most about Turkey, especially Istanbul, is that it is very diverse, you see women who don’t wear the hijab right alongside women who wear the hijab,” she said.
“You get a taste of the world in Istanbul.”
The Somali-American, who was born in a refugee camp in Kenya, and turned 24 on Sunday, started modeling in February 2017, months after competing at Miss Minnesota competition in her traditional dress and modest swimwear, reaching the semi-finals of the beauty pageant.
Since then, she has walked for Max Mara, Alberta Ferretti, and Kanye West’s fashion line, Yeezy, all in her hijab.
Aden also made history after becoming the first black woman to grace the cover of Essence magazine in hijab for its historic 50th-anniversary issue in December 2019.
Joining the fashion industry as a designer, she is confident modest fashion will survive crises like the coronavirus pandemic and changing fads.
“It is the oldest fashion staple, it’s been around for hundreds of years, it will continue to be around for hundreds of years,” she said.
Islam and fashion “are 100 percent compatible because there’s nothing in our religion that says you can’t be fashionable,” she said.