Taking over NYFW. Taking over the world.
Three years ago, when we started GAYA, the modest fashion industry was still in its infancy. Yes there were several Muslim/Modest fashion designers, labels and bloggers but the understanding of modest fashion was mainly confined within our own Muslim community. The term "modest fashion" hadn't penetrated the mainstream market. Perhaps (and not surprisingly) it was seen as "Islamic" and only targeted to hijabis. And obviously this didn't sit well with many in mainstream fashion. After all, the hijab was getting a rather bad rep and let's not forget a little thing called "Islamophobia".
That didn't stop us though. We persevered. Each and every one of us -designers, bloggers and media alike. We pushed our way through to break the stereotype.
And after all that hard work, today, the glass ceiling has been broken. All thanks to Anniesa Hasibuan. The Indonesian Muslim designer was the first to present an entire collection on the runway of NYFW with hijabs. Her gorgeous collection was well received, even garnering a standing ovation. Well done, Anniesa!
Anniesa Hasibuan @ NYFW 2016. Photos by Getty.
We first set eyes on Anniesa Hasibuan and her talent in 2015 at Moslema in Style International Fashion Forward (now known as KL Modest Fashion Week) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. And now here she is in New York! As the models took to the stage, you bet you can hear every Muslim woman around the world, hijabi or not, screaming in glee and adoration. Many (like us over here) are also going "Finally...like FINALLY! Look out world. Here we come."
Anniesa Hasibuan @ KLMFW 2015. Photos by GAYA Magazine.
But this attention doesn't come without its own negative 'whispers'. Whilst many of us jump around the shards of glass from the broken ceiling like a bonfire, there are some who say that it goes against the religion for having hijabs and Muslim women drawing such attention. Well, here's what we say. Modest fashion designers exist to cater to Muslim women with clothing that fits our specific lifestyle needs. Today's Muslim women work and play alongside non-Muslims and we have to adapt to modern society. Whilst the hijab and maintaining modesty in our dressing is a clear indication of our faith, our personal style is not lost. Fashion and faith can indeed go hand in hand. Furthermore, this attention brings a positive light to the hijab and Muslim women and will (hopefully) blow away the dark clouds that surround our community. If a positive light comes out of this, isn't that good? If it breaks the stereotype and changes people's perception of Islam and Muslims, then doesn't the benefit out-way the risk?
Seeing Anniesa Hasibuan on the runway of NYFW fuels many of us with a renewed hope and determination to push this further. Well done Anniesa! We couldn't be happier for you.