Since I started consciously caring about how I look and what I wear, lets say around 16, I’ve struggled to manifest my sense of style. This is because I dress modestly. That means I wear long sleeves, cover my legs and since I the summer of 2001 covering my hair. I’m a Muslim woman who wears the hijab and finding clothing that matches my faith and my style for a long time has made shopping a search for a needle in a haystack. For formal events, I’d often have to find matching fabric to add sleeves or length to a dress. To play soccer and workout I’d piece together an outfit and wear my most breathable headscarf so I wouldn’t be distracted by feeling too hot.
Thankfully a lot has changed since my teenage years and now more and more brands are creating clothing that reflects my values. Understanding that wanting to wear more doesn't mean that you don’t live an active life. It just means that you want to do those activities in a way that fits your values. This makes Nike’s launch of a “Pro Hijab” a really welcome move recognizing that there may be more for a female athlete to consider than the standard uniform of a particular sport.
Nike’s launch is doubly heartening for me because I founded Mode-sty
an multi-brand e-commerce for modest fashion. Since it’s inception, nearly three years ago, my goal has been to raise the profile of the modest market so that mainstream brands would create “modest collections” much like they do plus size or petite lines. Nike joins the ranks of DKNY, Tommy Hilfiger, Mango, Ralph Lauren and others in catering to the modest community. In doing so these brands bring modest women into the mainstream.
Having our desired coverage available normalizes the decision to wear longer sleeves and hemlines. It also allows all women greater options, giving them the ability to find things they are comfortable with and not simply settling for what is available. This is important because seeing yourself represented, validated and accepted in public spaces creates understanding and empathy. It is also important for people who don’t look like you to see it too since it allows us to be seen as humans who deserve respect even if we choose different lifestyles. I hope more brands will continue to understand and acknowledge the preferences of diverse women because it is both a benefit to their bottom line as well as society.