Minneapolis Muslim woman Hilal Ibrahim has made history after partnering with Nordstrom fashion retailer to showcase her luxury designs as the first hijabs to be sold at a major fashion retailer in the US.
“‘The time is now.’ That’s our company motto,” Ibrahim told CBC Local. “It’s a surreal moment, like it’s like this is really happening.”
Ibrahim started Henna & Hijabs, a boutique specializing in organic henna and handcrafted hijabs, in 2017 to make hijabs more accessible for the Muslim women.
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In late 2019, she created a collection of hijabs for patients and staff at Methodist Hospital in St. Louis Park—the nation’s first hospital to carry hijabs in its gift shop.
A few months later, the COVID-19 pandemic swept through the nation, and demand for Hilal’s hospital-grade hijabs exploded. She donated 700 hijabs to hospitals across the state, including the Mayo Clinic.
Earlier this week, her hijabs made debut in 16 Nordstrom stores, including at Mall of America in Bloomington.
“If I’m going to buy a hijab, I’d have to go to the specific Somali mall in Minneapolis, but I live all the way in Fridley,” Sahra Mohamed, a friend of Ibrahim, said.
The launch is also significant for representation because some of Nordstrom’s mannequins will now wear hijabs for the first time.
“It tells millions of women that look just like me and hundreds of young girls that they too look like people in this store and they belong here,” Ibrahim said.
Islam sees hijab as an obligatory code of dress, not a religious symbol displaying one’s affiliations.
For Muslim women, religious beliefs and values determine the ways they structure and approach their life.
According to Islamic Fashion Design Council (IFDC), Muslims spent about $322 billion on fashion in 2018. The hijab fashion industry could reach $488 billion this year, WHYY reported.
Non-Muslim international fashion lines and retailers have been trying to tap into the niche market for modest clothing.
For example, high-end label Dolce & Gabbana has lately released a collection of headscarves and coordinated abayas for Muslim women.