Breaking fashion convention – H&M’s latest look of Hijab-wearing Muslim model

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SHAFAQNA – This is the first time H&M, the world’s second largest retailer, has featured a Muslim model wearing a hijab in a video designed to encourage consumers to recycle their clothes. And it’s opened up the debate on Muslims in fashion.

As expected, the video, released earlier this month and entitled “Close the Loop”, is a slick production by the Swedish brand. Urban scenes, stylish attire and models of various nationalities, genders and sizes.

In fact, it was the Muslim woman’s debut modeling performance too.

Born and raised in London to a Pakistani mother and Moroccan father, Mariah Idrissi, 23, got her photo submitted to H&M by her casting director friend.

“It was just a one-off, I didn’t plan on it getting this big,” she tells CNN, laughing. And it seems the giant fashion house had done their research too.

“I was surprised, they actually really knew exactly how I should be dressed. They understood it had to be very loose fitting, not figure hugging, not anything revealing. They gave a range of different outfits. I kind of hinted what I liked and all of them were respectable,” she says.

Some people say modeling conflicts with traditional Islamic beliefs. Idrissi disagrees.

“I’ve seen a few comments where (people are) against it, but there’s nothing that says there is anything against it. In our religion, anything that’s not stated as forbidden is permissible,” she says.

“As long as I’m dressed correctly, according to Islam, then there’s no problem,” she adds. “It’s just promoting the hijab, in a way. If anything, it’s good.”

Born and raised in London to a Pakistani mother and Moroccan father, Mariah Idrissi, 23, got her photo submitted to H&M by her casting director friend.

“It was just a one-off, I didn’t plan on it getting this big,” she tells CNN, laughing. And it seems the giant fashion house had done their research too.

“I was surprised, they actually really knew exactly how I should be dressed. They understood it had to be very loose fitting, not figure hugging, not anything revealing. They gave a range of different outfits. I kind of hinted what I liked and all of them were respectable,” she says.

Some people say modeling conflicts with traditional Islamic beliefs. Idrissi disagrees.

“I’ve seen a few comments where (people are) against it, but there’s nothing that says there is anything against it. In our religion, anything that’s not stated as forbidden is permissible,” she says.

“As long as I’m dressed correctly, according to Islam, then there’s no problem,” she adds. “It’s just promoting the hijab, in a way. If anything, it’s good.”

So what is Idrissi’s advice to other aspiring Muslim models?

“I would say, make sure your intentions are correct in terms of why you’re doing it. Hijab isn’t a fashion,” she says. “We can adjust it to fashion but we have to remember that the sole purpose of the hijab is to be modest.

“If you know you haven’t corrected your inside first, there’s no point in putting a hijab on for the fashion side of it. Because then you’re defeating the object.”

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