The Nike Pro Hijab available Spring 2018, Meanwhile Muslim Designers have you already covered!
Athletic powerhouse, Nike has made efforts toward inclusion in February, with their Nike “Equality” ad (for Black History Month), which featured a Hijabi (Nurah Regan) running alongside Muslim Olympic Gold athlete (400 hurdles), Dalilah Muhammad. During the same month, Nike Middle East, launched a controversial commercial challenging cultural norms and featuring five Muslim female athletes called “What will they say about you?”
Nike has confirmed their next move- the launch of the Nike Pro Hijab (as seen on figure skater, Zahra Lari, (below)- Zahra , an Emirati figure skater featured in the commercial, is currently training to qualify in the 2018 Winter Games.)
The Nike Pro Hijab is the result of Nike working with hijabi athletes, and features breathable fabric, and stretch fit. (complete with huge Nike swoosh, for your side profile selfies). The Pro Hijab is the first of the brand's kind.
Nike, I’m a let you finish but…
Although the inclusion displayed by Nike is admirable, they are about 13 years late. Muslim women designers worldwide have tackled this problem for the hijabi athlete.
Pioneer, Australian designer, Aheda Zanetti was inspired to create the “Hijood” a mix of hijab and hood, creating a breathable, easy-to-slip-on garment to cover the head and allow modest Muslim women to play sports easily. The design was inspired by seeing her hijabi niece wear traditional Islamic clothing under her ball uniform. Zanetti launched Ahiida, in 2004, a full sportswear brand (ships worldwide), and eventually moved into swimwear, being the originator of the popular, trademarked, controversial “Burkini” design, a modest swimwear solution. Thanks to the hijood, in the same year, Bahraini sprinter, Ruqaya Al Ghasara (above), became the first athlete to ever take part in an Olympics wearing a hijab. She states "I hope that my wearing the hijood sports top will inspire other women to see that modesty or religious beliefs don’t have to be a barrier to participating in competitive sports."
The Malaysian active brand, (above) founded in 2010, encourages Muslim women to “Be Raqtive”! Raqtive advertises it's “Sports Hijab Pro” line (hmm, where Nike may have gotten it’s name inspiration perhaps?!), utilizing high-quality microfiber sports fabric, which allows better perspiration, absorbency, high breathability "without compromising comfort.”
UK brand, Anah Maria Active,(above) launched in 2013, offering sports hijabs, modest sleek workout wear, and comfortable one-piece burkinis. Their sports hijabs feature Dri- fit fabric with a mesh front. Starting at £16.00 (about $19.50 USD).
If you are seeking sports hijab sold in the USA, here are three:
In 2009, LiaWear Action (below), was launched, by Muslim American Designer, Latifa Ihsan Ali of Delaware. Ali, is a University of Delaware graduate in Apparel Design. Her passion lies in helping women, get active or remain active, while keeping modest. LiaWear Action offers "modest swimsuits, sportswear, and head wear so that you can enjoy a healthy, active, lifestyle." The website will relaunch soon, but you can buy now directly from their FB Shop!
Asiya Sport, (below) "Designed for Muslim girls, by Muslims Girls" has a unique start-up story. The brand's, namesake is Asiya bint Muzahim, known for being courageous and standing up against injustice. "We thought she was the ideal role model and champion for our mission.” The Founder of Asiya Sport, Fatimah Hussein, started the non-profit program — G.I.R.L.S. (Girls Initiative in Recreation and Leisurely Sports), which created girls-only gym time several nights a week catering to Muslim girls. In a collaboration with the Cedar-Riverside Community and the University of Minnesota, prototype basketball uniforms were developed for the girl athletes in 2015. The uniforms gave Muslim girls the freedom of movement to play ball. Asiya Sport then launched an indie-gogo campaign, being fully funded in Nov 2016, to offer the hijabs and gear to the public. The Asiya Sport website showcases 3 hijabi styles: Lite, Fit, and Sport in a variety of colors. The Ultra-lightweight and soft ASIYA™Cool Technology Fabric, features sweat-wicking performance & breath-ability, starting at $40 USD per style. Keeping with the spirit of giving back to their athletes, 50% of the proceeds of Asiya Sport, go to an athlete in need.
What's Next: A new line has emerged out of New York, and funded in 2016, by Designer, Arshiya Kherani. Sukoon Active is a line of active wear that caters to “the modest, Muslim woman who wants to look good while exercising, without compromising her values.” Sukoon Active offers breathable, dry-wicking natural fabric. like Merino Wool, which absorbs moisture from hair and skin to cool you down when you’re sweating, and it keeps you warm when your temperature drops. In addition, "it doesn’t slip off hair, or pull the hair." They also have unique closures utilizing velcro. Currently, prototypes for four pieces in the collection, have been created — the classic hijab, the up-do hijab, the classic tee and a signature bag. Look for the signature collection by Sukoon Active releasing soon! Follow them for updates.
So while the Muslim world awaits the Nike Pro Hijab, why not get familiar with the Muslim brands created by active Muslim women worldwide?! These brands have already been working with hijabi athletes, catering exclusively to the fit Muslimah lifestyle, as well as being role models to the next generation of Muslim girl athletes,!
These brands KNOW YOU, because they ARE YOU!
These women know what it feels like to want to be active and not compromise your modesty as a hijabi. It just makes sense to buy from Muslim women brands. The best thing you can do this Women's History Month, and beyond, is to support Muslim brands catering to Muslim women. So you say these brands aren’t as big as Nike. But do you know why? It’s because Muslim consumers are exercising their $170 billion dollar buying power to buy from brands like….well, Nike. What would happen if we collectively supported the Muslim designers above? That’s more Muslim dollars supporting a Muslim woman or family, that hire other Muslims, and enrich our communities.
So Yes, YOU, the Muslim consumer can do all of that, without even breaking a sweat in your hijab.