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H&M features first hijab-wearing model in new ad

By Valerie Edwards

Published 28/09/2015

Mariah Idrissi, a 23-year-old Muslim woman, has become the first model to wear a hijab in an H&M campaign.

A model scout from H&M - the world's second largest global retailer - invited Mariah to star in the ad, but at first she was skeptical.

Mariah, who is of Pakistani and Moroccan heritage and based in London, received permission from her parents on the basis of it being for a 'good cause'.

She spoke to Fusion about the campaign and said: "It always feels like women who wear hijab are ignored when it comes to fashion... so it's amazing that a brand that is big has recognised the way we wear hijab."

Mariah appears in the Close the Loop video wearing a checkered hijab and sunglasses to promote the fashion giant's recycling initiative.

She added that the team at the shoot were mostly women and men were directed not to touch her.

“If the cameramen noticed something not quite right, they would call a woman over to fix me, it was sweet.

“One of the watches was dangling in the wrong way, and rather than just twisting it on my wrist, the cameraman asked a woman to come over. It just showed that little bit of respect.”

Mariah currently runs a Moroccan-inspired beauty salon in London, where she offers henna tattoos and special Halal nail polish.

Only a few brands, including DKNY, Tommy Hilfiger and Mango, have launched special “Ramadan” collections, in time for the holiest month of the Islamic lunar calendar, or designed clothes with the world’s 1.6 billion Muslim consumers in mind.

Photo from H&M's new campaign ad, Close the Loop, featuring the first hijab-wearing model.
Photo from H&M's new campaign ad, Close the Loop, featuring the first hijab-wearing model.

Most of the outfits from previous brands feature long, flowing dresses in jeweled colors, skirts, long-sleeved shirts and coats.

The video also includes an amputee model, plus-sized models, a Gulf Sheikh, and a group of Sikh men and concludes with the words: "There are no rules in fashion but one. Recycle your clothes."

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