The hijab has been receiving a lot of negative attention recently, but that hasn’t stopped an Indonesian designer from creating beautiful, traditional veils for New York Fashion Week.
On September 19, 30-year-old designer Anniesa Hasibuan debuted her fashion line of the traditional Muslim garment—a total of 48 pieces, with the desire to introduce her native country’s rich culture and diversity to the fashion world. Her pieces range from pastel, gold, and silver silk, paired with modern suits, gowns, and embroidered tunics.
The show made such an impact on audiences that they gave Hasibuan a standing ovation at the end, an occurrence that has not happened at NYFW in years. The designer made history not only as the first Indonesian to present her designs in New York, but also the first to present the religious garment on the catwalk. She has previously held shows in London and Paris.
The designer shared in a statement to CNN: “I am so proud and thankful for everyone on the team who helped me so this event could happen, and I am thankful to international and local media from Indonesia for exposing my show. I did not realize the result can be this amazing, and I am thrilled and humbled by the welcome reaction given.”
Though the show earned much praise from the event attendees and the Muslim community, it has also drawn critics who question if hijabs have a place in the fashion industry. The main complaint is that hijabs serve the purpose of diverting attention away from women and promoting modesty, and showcasing them in the catwalk goes against the heart of the Islam religion.
However, the overwhelming positive feedback proves that the religious garment, especially the religion itself, can help to draw the community closer together. The debut of the hijab was not just for the purpose of showcasing a fashion accessory, but to also celebrate the religion and also the women wearing them. This is a silver lining among the Islamophobia that has been multiplying ever since the November 2015 Paris attacks.