In an exclusive interview for BBC 100 Women with US designer Tommy Hilfiger, Halima Aden the first hijab-wearing supermodel, who quit the fashion industry in November 2020, has revealed she sacrificed her own career in the hope it would encourage other diverse models to speak up for themselves.
Aden says: “Don’t change yourself, change the game… I want the girls to know, Halima took one for the team. I sacrificed my career so that they could feel comfortable to speak up in any setting. So I would want them, or any model, not just Muslim models, but really any women in the industry to feel safe and comfortable to voice her opinions, to know she’s part of the creative process. You’re not just the mannequin, you’re part of the team.”
In the documentary The Future of Fashion: Halima Aden meets Tommy Hilfiger, Halima Aden also talks about the “great pressure” she felt being the first Muslim hijab–wearing model in the industry, about diversity and how to go beyond tokenism, to see real change in the fashion industry.
Tommy Hilfiger shares his embarrassment of being part of an industry with some “outrageously antiquated ideas” and tells Halima of “knock-down drag-out fights” with casting directors who argued with him against casting diverse models.
Hosted by BBC World Service Global Religion reporter Sodaba Haidare, the programme also hears the experiences of young, diverse models in the UK, and discusses what a truly inclusive global fashion industry would look and feel like.
The Future of Fashion: Halima Aden meets Tommy Hilfiger airs on BBC World News on Saturday 24th July at 17:30 2300 IST and Sunday 25th July at 0400, 1000 and 1600 IST and on Tuesday 27th July at 1300 IST.
Preview of the documentary is available on BBC News