Diversity at NYFW

Designer Anniesa Hasibuan is making a major statement in the fashion world.

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Diversity at NYFW

Julia Jordan '17

Julia Jordan '17

Julia Jordan '17

Abbey Alexander, Writer

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New York Fashion Week, an event historically reserved for leggy struts and gorgeous runway apparel, is a whirlwind of fashion and art. Often the public forgets about the smaller shows, and new designers/brands are lost in the insanity that fills the runways of the Big Apple. This past September, however, history was made in a number of ways on the runway at Moynihan Station, and it was definitely not overlooked.

Anniesa Hasibuan, a Muslim designer from Indonesia, presented the first-ever collection that included hijabs in every outfit to be shown at New York Fashion Week. She’s also the first Indonesian to present a collection officially at a NYFW event. The collection was reportedly inspired by her home city of Jakarta, and included beautiful gowns, tunics, suits and kimonos in gorgeous silks. Each outfit was accompanied by a hijab, a scarf often worn by Muslim women. Although modesty is not something often associated with high fashion, that is the whole idea behind the hijab. Hasibuan was sure to not lose sight of that, even with such an on-trend show.

At a first-glance of the photos from her show, it is extremely noticeable that not only Islamic or Muslim models were used to showcase the pieces. The models were of many different races, including Caucasian, African American, and Asian. In a world where it seems even the smallest thing can seem politically incorrect, NYFW definitely expected at least a little bit of backlash from the public due to their racially diverse model casting. However, the response was nothing short of positive. After the show ended, Hasibuan received a standing ovation, something that touched her immensely, according to her press manager, Lori Riviere, who released a statement to CNN saying that she was so moved it brought her to tears. Hasibuan also released the following statement:

“I am so proud and thankful for everyone on the team who helped me so this event could happen, and I am thankful to international and local media from Indonesia for exposing my show. I did not realize the result can be this amazing, and I am thrilled and humbled by the welcome reaction given.”

She received countless numbers of tweets and messages thanking her for not only being a representation of Muslim girls everywhere, but also sharing the beauty of the culture by using other races and religions in her show.

Hasibuan did receive a few negative comments from conservatives claiming that she wasn’t honoring the hijab because she still had her model’s necks showing. Hasibuan, however, handled the critique gracefully and calmly, claiming that she just wants to stay positive about the whole thing. She focused on how confident she felt presenting her designs in New York. “I felt very comfortable because they didn’t care whether I was a Muslim designer or not – I was just a designer to them,” Hasibuan said to CNN.

Girls everywhere, whether Muslim, Indonesian, or just those interested in breaking down boundaries of the fashion world, can look up to Hasibuan as a role model and a creative inspiration.

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