Mariah Idrissi Called Out This High-Street Label Hijab Line Controversy

BY Harper's BAZAAR Arabia / Aug 6 2019 / 20:23 PM

Banana Republic came under fire for the images used to launch their new line of hijabs

Mariah Idrissi Called Out This High-Street Label Hijab Line Controversy

Banana Republic is the latest fashion retailer to release a collection of hijabs, following in the footsteps of brands like Tommy Hilfiger, Nike and US department store Macy's. The line has been met with mixed reactions, with some praising the move as a step towards inclusivity, and others accusing the store of cultural appropriation. But when the promo shots for the new collection were unveiled, they seemed to confirm the reservations of those critical of the US retailer’s latest move.

The label released four (now deleted) shots of model Fatuma Yusuf, who donned a different style of hijab in each image, on their Instagram account, alleging that she had helped style the shoot. In one shot, however, she was pictured in a short-sleeved top. The photo has now been cropped so the model's arms are no longer visible. Many, including British-Moroccan influencer, activist and model Mariah Idrissi and Haute Hjab founder Melanie Elturk were quick to call the brand out for marketing the garments insensitively and for misportraying the concept of hijab. 

Elturk took to Instagram stories to express her thoughts. "I personally am going to let them know that while I love that they're representing our community, there are guidelines to hijab outside of just covering hair," she noted. "While I love that hijab is becoming more mainstream and applaud @bananarepublic for their efforts in inclusivity… I have to pause at the way it’s portrayed." 

Idrissi, who made headlines in 2015 after becoming the first hijab-wearing model to star in a major international fashion campaign, had similar feelings, "I’m out here on… all these platforms to explain the importance of getting the right people to consult for brands that want to tap into the ‘Muslim dollar’ and then this happens. Why are these errors happening still?"

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Press play to hear what happened when BAZAAR sat down with Mariah Idrissi...