meet the hijabi model taking muslim beauty mainstream

Mariah Idrissi explains what went into her H&M campaign shoot and why Muslim representation in the fashion industry is “a big achievement.”

by Emily Manning
Sep 28 2015, 5:40pm

Although she stars alongside Iggy Pop, Mariah Idrissi's appearance in H&M's latest campaign video is the one going viral. Unlike the gender-bending rock legend's torso bearing shot, the 23-year-old model's screen time is generating media buzz precisely because she's covered. Mariah is the first hijab-wearing model to appear in an H&M campaign, and she's unafraid to speak out about how important that is: "Hijab fashion has boomed in the last few years and to finally see a hijabi [a woman who wears a hijab] in mainstream fashion is a big achievement," she told Fusion.

The 23-year old Londoner of Pakistani and Moroccan descent took part in the Swedish brand's Close the Loop campaign, a video to promote sustainability that plus size model and #effyourbeautystandards advocate Tess Holliday and Slutever writer Karley Sciortino, as well as an amputee boxer, a group of suit-clad Sikh men, a few stylish elderly folks -- including a transwoman.

The brand discovered Idrissi on Instagram, where she frequently posts on point makeup selfies and products from Salon Marrakesh, the Moroccan-inspired beauty salon she launched in London to cater to fellow Muslim women's specific beauty needs. She told Fusion the brand also exhibited sensitivity to her religious and cultural customs when shooting the campaign. "[H&M] asked how much in terms of neck I could show, but to be honest they were very respectful," Idrissi said. "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."

As many in the industry have noted, high fashion has begun to cater to Muslim consumers. This past Ramadan, brands including DKNY, Tommy Hilfiger, and Monique Lhuillier created collections specifically catering to the holy day's wardrobe specifications. But tapping into a consume base is one thing; actually representing Muslim women in campaigns and editorials is another. We're stoked to see H&M giving shine to those so frequently marginalized from these important images, and we hope other brands follow suit.


Text Emily Manning

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