Hijabs Hit The Catwalk At NYFW: ‘We Are Not Oppressed, Hijab Is Beautiful,’ Says Designers

Fashion designer Dian Pelangi said women who wear hijabs are not oppressed and proved her point by displaying her sentiments at New York Fashion Week through a collection of garments categorized as “modest fashion.” The style is said to be aimed at the affluent, modern, religiously observant Muslim woman.

Pelangi has created, along with five other rising designers in the Indonesian fashion scene, an increasingly diverse fashion week with hopes of changing prejudices through their designs.

The hijab and abaya took center stage at the New York runway featuring models who covered their hair in a traditional Islamic style. Pelangi, a 26-year-old with 4.8 million followers on Instagram, wishes to show the world that women can be stylish and beautiful while wearing a hijab.

“We’re not oppressed and we just want to show the world that we still can be beautiful and stylish with our hijab on.”

Designers Pelangi and Vivi Zubedi felt moved to present their collections at NYFW partly because of Donald Trump’s controversial travel ban. Zubedi, a 30-year-old Jakarta-based designer, made a plea to President Trump.

“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.”

Hijabs at NYFW 2017 runway

Pelangi and the other designers showcased her collections on the first day of New York Week. Dian’s threads were a collection of Indonesian materials including Batik print and tie dye that covered the NYFW models from head to toe.

An array of models wore the prints in various ways including full skirts, wide pants, loose fitting jackets, and rich brocade. The women also covered their hair with scarfs that were both wrapped over and under headpieces which were inspired by the garments worn in medieval Europe.

On the back of the colorful gowns were the words, “Mekkah, Madinah, Jannah.” The meaning behind the words encompasses the two sites of Muslim pilgrimage and the Arabic word for paradise, in addition to the phrase “all colors matter,” according to The Guardian.

Models wearing hijabs down runway at New York Fashion Week

“I love the U.S. every much and I have a lot of clients here… Hijab is beautiful, we are all still human no matter what religion you are. We are still the same.”

Zubedi’s look was more conservative but featured her signature black abaya adopted by strictly observant Muslim women in many other countries. The loose-flowing garment is obligatory in Saudi Arabia.

Pelangi said her inspiration came from the book Humans of New York. The bestselling book was created by Brandon Stanton, an American photographer who documents the diversity of the 8.5 million people who live in the city.


In the fashion industry, “diversity” is this season’s buzz word, according to The Guardian. Models of various shapes, sizes, and colors are more prominent and social media is challenging an industry once run by fashion editors.

The Indonesian Diversity fashion show takes place one year after Indonesia’s Anniesa Hasibuan staged the first New York runway show featuring models all wearing the hijab.

Somali-American model Halima Aden, who was born in a refugee camp in Kenya, made history in November of 2016 when she wore a burkini and a hijab when participating in the semifinal of the Miss Minnesota USA pageant.

Paving the way in the modest fashion industry, Aden went on to walk in Kanye West’s Yeezy Season 5 show at New York Fashion Week.

In June, Halima Aden was on the cover of Vogue Arabia and made a huge step forward for hijab-inclusive fashion after revealing Halima as their latest cover star. The magazine had only been available in print for the last three months and previously featured an interview with the model when she was 19 years old.

Aden most recently inspired fans across the globe as Allure magazine’s cover girl for their July issue.

Back in March, many speculated that Lindsay Lohan may be starting a modest clothing line. Lohan was rumored to have converted to Islam when she posted a picture of herself wearing a headscarf. Lindsay captioned the photo, “New Fashion Line coming soon…”

Another post indicated that Lohan was renewed by her reported new faith after posting a photo which read, “Ever beautiful and decent picture of yours as Allah created you to be preserved.”

Earlier in the year, the Mean Girls actress claimed she was “racially profiled” in an airport because of her headscarf. Lindsay said the incident left her “kind of shocked” and could not find the “purpose” of the incident.

Lohan posted no further updates on her potential modest fashion line.

[Featured Image by Roy Rochlin/Getty Images]