Three years after she was the world's first hijab-wearing supermodel, Halima Aden, has quit the fashion industry, stating she is done compromising her religion for her work.
The American-Somalian model, 23, who has been on the cover of Elle, Vogue Arabia, and Allure since her rise to fame at 19, posted her decision to step away from fashion on her Instagram last week.
She documented her hijab journey, detailing specific photoshoots where she had compromised her religion in an effort to “modernize” the hijab, for the sake of representation, or to simply just to fit in.
One such shoot was for American Eagle.
Born to Somali parents in a refugee camp in Kenya and raised in Minnesota, Aden overcame bullying and being the only one who looked like her to become a supermodel with a contract with IMG Models.
However, Aden feels she has made “mistakes” in how she has represented the traditional hijab. She attributes a COVID-induced break from the industry and her mother with her realization that she needs to step away from the runway to stay faithful to her Muslim faith.
Aden takes personal responsibility for failing to live by her principles, but she does criticize the lack of Muslim female stylists in fashion.
She also points out that she was a trailblazer, unable to learn from those going before her, so she was going to make mistakes.
However, Aden has spoken. She will work in fashion on her own terms or not at all.