Within the past year, we witnessed Ibtihaj Muhammad become the first American hijabi to compete in the Olympics, we watched Saudi Arabia’s empowering Nike ad and we watched as Islamic clothing rapidly rose in the fashion industry. As an increasing number of companies realize the potential of tapping into this largely unexplored market, they’re aiming to create their own products that cater to its consumers.
Nike, the famous sports brand, has introduced its own contender to the Muslim consumer market. Its goal is to create a sports hijab that will allow Muslim women to perform more easily and efficiently. The hijab was inspired by Saudi Arabian runner, Sarah Attar who competed in the London 2012 Olympics.
“The Nike Pro Hijab may have been more than a year in the making, but its impetus can be traced much further back, to an ongoing cultural shift that has seen more women than ever embracing sport,” Nike stated.
The piece itself is made with a lightweight and breathable mesh fabric and aims to encourage women to compete in sports while not compromising their beliefs. We’ve seen in many cases that when Muslim women compete in professional sports, they are encouraged or forced to remove their hijabs due to safety concerns. Many times wearing the hijab in a competing sport is considered a violation of the rules.
During the design process, Nike worked with a variety of athletes, including Emirati weightlifter, Amna Al-Haddad. By working with various individuals, they were able to get a better understanding of what the hijab would need in regards to performance, efficiency and comfort.
This isn’t the first time a sports hijab has been created. We can’t forget the original Capster hijabs created by Dutch designer, Cindy van den Bremen in 1999. Capsters were created in response to the designer noticing that hijab and sports were a universal concern. The Capster range includes hijabs for all kinds of fitness lifestyles.
Another sports hijab was created by Muay Thai fighter, Ruqsana Begum in 2015. Danish brand, Hummel, also created a sports jersey with built-in hijab for the Afghanistan soccer team in 2016. As we can see, the need for a sports hijab has continuously been recognized.
As Nike continues to release promotional material for its rendition of a sports hijab, we can’t wait to see how it’ll impact the growing Muslim fashion industry. The Nike Pro Hijab is intended for launch in spring 2018.