Kanye West Cast This Barrier-Breaking Hijabi Model In His NYFW Show
Halima Aden – who rose to fame after donning a burkini in a beauty pageant – has also been snapped up by a top modelling agency.
Kanye’s a bit of a Marmite character – you either love him or hate him – but he’s definitely getting a huge thumbs up for his latest fashion show.
The rapper sent out his Yeezy Season 5 collection at New York Fashion Week on Wednesday, but it wasn’t the clothes that had the fashion magazines talking.
West cast his first hijab-wearing model for the show, one who’s used to breaking down barriers in the fashion and beauty industry.
Halima Aden, a 19-year-old Somali-American model, made headlines last year after donning traditional Muslim dress to compete in a US beauty pageant.
The teen wore her hijab and a burkini in the Miss Minnesota contest, and while she didn’t take the crown, she certainly didn’t come away empty-handed.
Aden, who was born in a Kenyan refugee camp, has since been snapped up by IMG Models, the agency that represents Gisele Bündchen, Gigi Hadid and Kate Moss, to name just a few.
In a huge win for diversity, the teen has also just shot a spread – complete with her hijab – in former Vogue Paris editor Caroline Roitfield’s CR Fashion Book.
Her turn in the Yeezy show marked her NYFW debut, and shortly after the show Aden shared an inspirational message on her Instagram page.
“I signed with the top modelling agency in the WORLD and still wore my hijab as my crown,” she said. “Don’t ever change yourself…Change the game.”
Her walk for Kanye West lit up social media with praise, with users commending the rapper-designer’s inclusivity.
Aden has previously spoken about not compromising her values for the industry.
“I’m going in as me, my authentic self. I’m not going to dress down or change myself,” she said during the Miss Minnesota pageant.
“Not seeing women that look like you in media in general and especially in beauty competition sends the message that you’re not beautiful or you have to change the way you look to be considered beautiful – and that’s not true.
“I didn’t think that I should allow my hijab to get in the way of me participating. This is a great platform to show the world who I am… just because I’ve never seen a woman wearing a burkini [in a pageant] it doesn’t mean I don’t have to be the first.”