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Halima makes fashion comeback with modest fashion giant Modanisa

29th Oct 2021
Halima makes fashion comeback with modest fashion giant Modanisa

Photo: Somali-American model Halima Aden at the unveiling of Modanisa’s new slogan ‘Your World to Wear’ in Istanbul, Turkey, on September 14 (Courtesy of Modanisa)

Nadine Osman and Ahmed J Versi

Somali-American model, Halima Aden, one of the first hijab-wearing models to walk international runways and to be signed to a major modelling agency, has been named global ambassador for the Istanbul-based modest fashion giant, Modanisa, with whom she has signed an exclusive 2-year contract as a designer. Modanisa sells modest fashion online and dispatches orders to over 140 countries, including the EU.

Flanked by Modanisa’s CEO Kerim Türe at the unveiling of Modanisa’s new slogan ‘Your World to Wear’ on September 14, Aden said her attraction to Modanisa was based on their shared “faith and values” and the way the brand “fully respects my choices as a Muslim woman,” she told the press conference.

Aden first collaborated with Modanisa in April 2019 to design a hijab and shawl collection called Halima X Modanisa, which was launched at the Istanbul Modest Fashion Week on April 20, 2019. Translated into multiple languages such as Turkish, Arabic, and Bahasa, the ‘Your World to Wear’ slogan will be marketed in a multi-million dollar international campaign across Turkey, Europe, South East Asia, and North America.

Aden explained that “Your World to Wear” is based on the modest fashion of the E-retailers decade-long experience of catering for “tens of millions of Muslim women worldwide,” giving the shopping portal vital insights into the needs of this globally diverse fashion-conscious community. “There are no limits to what any of us can do when the clothing options exist: we can play sport, socialise, and dress for the office or for special occasions. We dress as we choose, according to our values and beliefs, and we are stronger for it. That is the power of ‘Your World to Wear’”.

“All women want to look and feel good and to pursue their goals and dreams without compromising their beliefs. That includes us, Muslim women,” said Aden. “Modanisa has empowered so many women – myself included – to have the confidence to do something we want to do,” she continued, drawing on a personal anecdote about her career to prove her point: “For me, that burkini from Modanisa allowed me to appear in the Miss Minnesota USA 2016 beauty pageant, which changed my life forever.”

Aden also used the event to highlight the hypocrisy Muslim women face, comparing how Norwegian and German athletes were ‘cheered on’ this summer for wanting to cover up, while women wanting to do the same for religious reasons are regarded as “oppressed.”

Aden said, “If we truly believe in freedom of religion and of expression, and in gender equality, then these universal principles must be applied, without reservation, to all women. We need to be consistent in speaking out whenever and wherever women’s lives are being restricted, and others’ values are imposed on them, whether it’s in Iran or Afghanistan or in France and other countries in the European Union.”

In November 2020, Aden quit the runway and said she would only take on modelling work that allowed her to keep her hijab visible.

CEO Kerim Türe told The Muslim News he wasn’t planning on impacting mainstream fashion and that the initial goal was a “choice and style for the forgotten woman” but their company had garnered “a lot of attention from the mainstream media, and also from the mainstream models”. Türe proudly claimed Modanisa was “the first to hear the silent scream of the Muslim women and bring the choice to their lives” joking “the rest soon followed.”

Asked by The Muslim News what her most special moment was in a mainstream fashion, Aden said, “I had a couple of really big moments. But in the mainstream media, I would say, when I became the first Muslim woman to grace the cover of British Vogue, something that has never happened in their 106-year history. So that was a very proud moment in my career when I got to grace the cover of Vogue.”

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