Halima Aden often recognised as the world’s first hijab-wearing model has announced that she is quitting the fashion industry and fashion shows because they forced her to compromise on her Islamic beliefs and values.
Aden, who was hailed as a trailblazer for being one of the first models to wear a hijab and walk for major fashion labels including Kanye West’s Yeezy, posted a series of images on social media that illustrated the times she had lost touch with who she is.
“I can only blame myself for caring more about opportunity than what was actually at stake,” wrote Aden on social media.
Sharing a post of herself in a campaign for Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty, Aden wrote: “(Rihanna) let me wear the hijab I brought to set. This is the girl I’m returning to, the real Halima.”
In another post, Aden spoke about the feeling that comes with being a “minority within a minority”.
“Thanks to COVID and the break away from the industry, I have finally realised where I went wrong in my personal hijab journery,” shared Aden.
“What I blame the industry for is the lack of Muslim stylists. She said this has led to very little understanding of the hijab in the fashion industry.”
The former supermodel also shared instances where she was forced to compromise on her hijab.
She added that she had “sobbed” in her hotel room after shooting some campaigns over not speaking up about what she thought was right.
“The truth is I was very uncomfortable,” she wrote on Instagram.
Halima said that she can “now sleep in peace” because she has said her peace and is leaving it there.
Meanwhile, the Hadid sisters Gigi and Bella extended their support towards Aden and sent love her way.
Aden first made headlines in 2016, when she was the first woman to wear a hijab. Since then she has appeared on the cover of British Vogue and on runways at New York Fashion Week.
Aden was the first model to wear a hijab and full-body burkini in Sports Illustrated’s annual swimsuit issue. The spread was shot at Watamu Beach in Kenya.