A woman dressed in western clothes and a hijab is a common sight across Europe’s capital cities – a fact now reflected on the catwalk at Milan fashion week.
Halima Aden, a Somali-American model, is fast becoming fashion’s face of 2017, currently stealing the show at fashion week from the catwalk superstar Gigi Hadid.
Aden, 19, who made her catwalk debut this month at Kanye West’s Yeezy show in New York, covered her hair with a black headscarf to match the black knit she wore on Alberta Ferretti’s catwalk on Wednesday evening, and teamed the brand’s classic camel coat with a matching fine wool headscarf at the Max Mara show on Thursday.
A caption on the official Ferretti Instagram ran: “Embracing culture and diversity to break norms and change the thinking of modern-day fashion with Halima Aden.”
Born in a Kenyan refugee camp, Aden moved to the US aged six and made headlines last year when she became the first Miss Minnesota contestant to take part wearing a hijab.
While Yeezy was Aden’s first catwalk booking, her appearances in Milan are perhaps more significant as Alberta Ferretti and Max Mara represent the mainstream fashion establishment.
Recently signed to the IMG model agency, Aden stars on the cover of the latest issue of CR Fashion Book, Carine Roitfeld’s prestigious glossy, photographed in a Louis Vuitton bodysuit by Mario Sorrenti.
“As Muslims, we need more positive stories, period,” Aden says of her success. “I felt so proud of the media, because for a very long time they were pushing this negative image of Muslims … I went in [for the beauty pageant] thinking that I want something positive for young Muslim girls. But I’ve heard stories from parents who are Christians, telling me: ‘Thank you, I want my seven-year-old daughter to know that you don’t have to be half-naked to be beautiful.’
Backstage before the Ferretti show, Bella Hadid, sister of Gigi and a fellow supermodel, greeted Aden by calling out: “You’re the greatest!”