Fashion brand H&M stepped out of defined lines featuring models from all walks of life in its new ad campaign called “Close the Loop. The campaign which encourages customers to recycle their clothing through the brand’s local garment collecting program featured the first Muslim model in hijab; Mariah Idrissi.
Mariah Idrissi is a 23-year-old, London-based model of Pakistani and Moroccan descent. She was discovered by H&M via her Instagram page, where she posts snapshots of her fashionable outifits, makeup and henna designs done at her salon in London where she offers henna tattoos and special halal nail polish.
Idrissi is one of many characters in the fashion brand’s ad campaign, as the company used plus-size models, Sikh men and amputees to deliver its message, and call for sustainable fashion through recycling .
Mariah appears in the short film, as the narrator says “look chic”, standing in a doorway wearing round sunglasses, a pink coat, black wide-legged trousers, and white checkered hijab.
Speaking to Fusion about the campaign, “It always feels like women who wear hijab are ignored when it comes to fashion,” she said.”Our style, in a way, hasn’t really mattered, so it’s amazing that a brand that is big has recognized the way we wear hijab,” Idrissi praised H&M for the respect and understanding they paid her during the shoot, stating that she was also provided a special private dressing area, the team at the shoot were mostly women and that men were instructed not to touch her.
Mariah appearance in H&M short film as a hijab-wearing model is getting lots of buzz and raising discussions about women’s right to wear hijab as a form of stylish self-expression.
Reactions have been amazing, mainly positive for hijabis (women who wear hijab) who expressed their admiration for this step that offers a fashion-forward look at Muslim women, hoping to see more ads for different brands by Muslim women. A MuslimGirl blogger wrote “Maria Hidrissi didn’t just model for an ad campaign, she awakened the people. In a simple and quiet way she made others look at a Muslim woman without fear or contempt but with a healthy curiosity,” she continued. “Muslim women will make themselves seen whether we are invited to the table or not”.
In response to the attention around Ms. Idrissi, H&M released a statement saying “Everyone is welcome at H&M and we never take a religious or political stand”.
H&M isn’t the first major brand to target Muslims with ads. Many brands including DKNY, Tommy Hilfiger, Armani and Mango have launched modest clothing collections for the holy month of Ramadan to woo Muslim women with specially designed collections.
Hijab fashion has boomed in the last few years creating a market to fulfill the need for trendy yet modest clothing, and paving the way for fashion designers and labels to establish Muslim-friendly clothing lines. It’s a trend that recognizes Islam’s rapid growth. There are more than 1.6 billion Muslim consumers worldwide that’s expected to increase to nearly 3 billion by 2050, according to a recent report from Thomson Reuters. With such numbers, it is no surprise that businesses are taking lessons in halal so that they can emerge into the expanding Muslim market.
SO, have you seen Maria Hidrissi in H&M’s new ad campaign video yet?
By Sally Mahmoud