Halima Aden quit fashion industry to give it a 'taste of own medicine'

Muslim model Halima Aden, 23, who quit the runway after feeling forced to ‘compromise her religion’ says she wanted to give the fashion industry a ‘taste of its own medicine’ for treating models as ‘disposable’

  • Halima Aden, 23, said she quit fashion industry to give ‘taste of its own medicine’
  • US Muslim fashion model claimed they treat models like they are ‘disposable’  
  • She recalled how her hijab shrunk with every shoot as she started being styled

US Muslim fashion model Halima Aden has told how she quit the fashion industry to give it a ‘taste of its own medicine’ – after claiming they treat models like they are ‘disposable’ and ‘replaceable.’

The Somali-born model, 23, who lived at the Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya before moving to the United States at the age of seven, fronted campaigns for Rihanna and Kanye West’s clothing labels, and first shot to worldwide fame at the age of 19 when she was hailed the first supermodel to don a hijab. 

Since her big break four years ago, she has appeared on the covers of British Vogue, Vogue Arabia and Allure but has since decided to hand it all in.

Speaking to The Times, Halima Aden claimed how the fashion industry treats models like they are ‘disposable’ and ‘replaceable.’

US Muslim fashion model Halima Aden has told how she she quit fashion industry to give it a ‘taste of its own medicine.’ Pictured, at the Women of the Year 2019 Red Carpet arrivals in New York on 11 November 2019

Since her big break four years ago, she has appeared on the covers of British Vogue, Vogue Arabia and Allure but has since decided to hand it all in

‘So I wanted to give the fashion industry a taste of its own medicine,’ she continued. ‘Thank you for these incredible four years, but just like you churn through all these bright, young people, I’m going to move on with my life and replace [modelling] with something better.’ 

When asked weather she has fallen out of love with fashion, Vogue’s first hijab-wearing woman added: ‘Oh, just a little bit.’

The Muslim model recalled how her hijab appeared to shrink with every shoot as soon as she started being styled by stylists – to the point in which she was asked where her hijab was.   

‘Despite me saying, “Don’t change yourself, change the game”, that was exactly what I was doing,’ she continued, adding how one magazine cover made her look like a ‘white man’s fetishised version’ of herself.  

The Muslim model recalled how her hijab appeared to shrink with every shoot as soon as she started being styled by stylists – to the point in which she was asked where her hijab was. Pictured, walking the runway at the TommyNow show during London Fashion Week February 2020 at the Tate Modern on February 16, 2020 in London

‘I’m not saying it’s not right for other Muslim, hijab-wearing women, I’m saying it was not right for me. I wear a hijab, I’m a Muslim, I’m Somali, so yes, all these identities set me up to be the perfect token to check all the boxes. I felt like one of the biggest tokens in the industry. I always felt like an outsider in my own career.’ 

Speaking to the BBC, she previously told how she was especially horrified when she appeared on the same magazine title which she featured on included an image of a naked man inside.

‘Why would the magazine think it was acceptable to have a hijab-wearing Muslim woman when a naked man is on the next page?’ she said. 

She also admitted she felt forced to ‘compromise’ her religion, the Miss Minnesota USA semi-finalist said she was unable to spent Muslim religious festivals with her family due to her jam-packed schedule.

Halima broke boundaries as the first hijab-wearing model to sign with a major modelling agency.

She impressively signed with IMG Models in February 2017, and that same month she made her runway debut in Kanye West’s Yeezy show.

During her career, she has modelled for the likes of Marc Jacobs, Alberta Ferreti and Fenty, and has covered Vogue Arabia, CR Fashion Book, Allure, and British Vogue in a hijab.

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