British born Mariah Idrissi has made history by becoming the first hijab-wearing model to feature in a major campaign for H&M.
Discovered after H&M booking agents came across her Instagram page, the Wembley Park local was surprised at the call out, saying she never thought such a big brand would feature a woman in a hijab.
The 23 year old is part of a new campaign, called “Close the Loop” which was launched by H&M to combat clothing wastage and promote recycled clothing.
Since the campaign went live, Idrissi has been overwhelmed by the positive response, especially from other young women in the Muslim community.
“I’ve had girls contact me online saying ‘I wanted to take my scarf off but now I’ve seen you I’m more confident’, and non-Muslims saying, ‘Wow, she looks really good, I’d wear that jacket’,” said Idrissi to local news.
Whilst her involvement has also been met with a fair share of negative comments, Idrissi is quick to dismiss the hateful speech and silence her critics who believe her modelling was “immodest”
“People have said ‘Wearing a hijab is about being modest so how come you are posing?’ But why can you not look decent and covered? You don’t need to be naked to look good. There is no restriction on having a personality if you wear a headscarf.”
Idrissi added that comments like these were the reason that so many members of society see Islam as an oppressive religion – but it’s just not the case.
She spoke about her experience saying she felt incredibly comfortable and free the entire shoot.
“I pushed my opinion on what to wear. There was one pair of trousers that was a bit cropped and I had to tell them there was too much ankle on show,” she laughs. “We went with the big flares instead. Then we picked the checked scarf because of the colour but it was too short to cover me so we had to find a sewing machine and stitch two together.”
Idrissi says: “I didn’t think I would be a role model but why not? It is great that a big brand has recognised the hijab, hopefully this will help society become more tolerant.”