Halima Aden is having a stellar fashion month. On February 15, IMG’s first hijab-wearing model made her New York Fashion Week debut at Yeezy Season 5. Now, she’s taking Milan by storm. Yesterday, the 19-year-old Somali-American strode the Alberta Ferreti runway in an all-black ensemble. Today, Aden sported a camel-toned look at Max Mara. It’s no coincidence that both shows were styled by the great Carine Roitfeld, one of Aden’s biggest industry allies. (Case in point: Aden’s recent CR Fashion Book cover.)
Unlike many Muslim models, Aden is unwilling to compromise on her personal dress code. (She even wears visible braces.) It’s this conviction that propelled Aden into the spotlight: Last year, Aden, a former beauty queen, made headlines when she wore a hijab and burkini during the Miss Minnesota pageant. Now she’s taking runway tips from the likes of Gigi Hadid, Insta phenomenon and fellow IMG signee.
Aden’s signing by IMG, as well as her appearance on more traditionalist runways like Alberta Ferretti, is evidence of the fashion industry’s new and (slightly) improved attitude towards diversity. Per our latest diversity report, Fall 2017 marked the first time in New York Fashion Week history that every single runway featured at least one model of color. Aden’s acceptance into the fashion fold will no doubt open doors for other Muslim models, headscarf-wearing or no. Tokenism is a two-sided coin, people.