Nike plans to sell a 'Pro Hijab' line in Spring 2018. The line features breathable mesh headscarfs aimed at Muslim women who choose to cover their hair and offers them comfortable performance head covering for working out and sports. Athletic sport hijabs are nothing new, many independent Muslim designers have been creating them for years along with modest athletic wear, see: Capsters, Friniggi, Sukoon Active and Veil Garments. Some may think the entry of Nike into this market is opportunistic and a marketing ploy. That may be the case, and we should continue to support the independent brands that were made for and cater to the modest community.
However, I think that this is a welcome and refreshing move by Nike. The modest community, which includes women of all faiths, has been overlooked by the mainstream brands for years and as a result, we've had to take care of ourselves. We created and designing our own clothes or layering pieces out of necessity. The entry of brands like Nike into the modest market may result in a few lost sales to modest brands. However, when judging change we cannot only look at what we will lose we have to also consider what we will gain. In this case, we gain acceptance and normalization.
When modest women are shown participating in sports and engaging in everyday activities like everyone else it stresses our similarities. Clarifying, that although we dress differently, we work and play in the same way. This is a powerful way to push back against stereotypes that cast our differences as "other" or "foreign." The launch of the Pro Hijab come on the heels of Nike's video campaign that featured female Middle Eastern athletes entitled “What will they say about you?” I'm thrilled that Nike has catered to us and hope other brands will follow them.
In addition, I believe that name brands creating lines for modest women will help grow independent modest brands. By raising awareness of the market to potential investors and customers who can now search for and support these brands.
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