Veiled Collection is a renowned Hijab and modest-wear clothing company. They have all the makings of an awesome brand, they have sustainable clothing and their products are ethically made. This past September, they hosted Veiled Fest, an event where people could preview and buy products from their collection and meet Veiled influencers. While this was a great opportunity to meet the women who are the face of the brand, not everyone was included.
Out of all the brand influencers, only a minority were women of color. This caused outrage over social media, if you are not able to see yourself in places where you should be accepted, then where else are you supposed to go?
While any woman can purchase Veiled Collection’s clothing, there is no denying that its core customer base is Muslim women. And Muslim women, like any other subgroup of women, is diverse in every meaning of the word. So when companies create products targeted towards us, we expect to see our community reflected in them.
While it might seem like a minor error on the part of Veiled Collection for not including more women of color at their event, this is a direct reflection of their brand. If they don’t care enough to invest time and resources into creating a space where we both feel and see that we are included, why would we dedicate our time and resources to invest in them?
While this may seem harsh, we hold companies like Veiled Collection to a higher standard because they should know better. The brand is not made up of outsiders trying to create clothing that they think would be appealing to Muslim women, it’s made up of Muslim women. These women know firsthand what it’s like to not see yourself reflected on the runway or Instagram.
With this knowledge, I would expect them to go above and beyond in building a platform that is made by us and for us. Veiled is a reputable brand and they certainly have a diverse array of models reflected within their campaigns so why was that not reflected within their Veiled fest? We are not asking for perfection because that is not possible, but consistency is possible.
This is more important now than ever because of the way the fashion industry has turned sour towards any kind of representation involving Muslim women. Specifically, France’s education minister, Gabriel Attal, came under fire for banning Muslim girls from wearing abayas in school.
This ban creates a perception that women who wear any style of the hijab are abnormal. This is just another tactic to further alienate Muslim women and make them feel guilty about the choices they make with their bodies.
The effects of this go even further as people become less inclined to include Muslim women who wear the hijab as part of their fashion campaign, as their co-worker, or even their friends. When the perception and stereotypes surrounding Muslim women who wear the hijab continue to be reaffirmed, people are more inclined to adopt those ideologies as truth.
This is why companies like Veiled Collection can help contribute towards shifting that tide. By including diverse Muslim women in their campaigns, they can send a message showing they won’t be influenced by society’s tainted opinions and instead draw their own conclusions.
The conclusion is that you can be a hijab-wearing Muslim woman of every decree and background and be in the public eye. There have been countless studies of young children and the effect of seeing people who look like them in all types of media. Our community is no different, and we want to encourage and show young Muslim girls that there are girls like them who are living their truth without hiding behind closed doors. We owe this much to the women in our community.
We contribute and participate in society just as much as everyone else; we have earned our seats at this table and should not sit idly by watching someone else take it. Instead of asking permission to take space where we are not welcome, we can change our seats and look at things from a different angle.
Veiled Collection can take the lead on that without making drastic changes to its brand image. The brand has already taken steps towards projecting a more inclusive image of Muslim women, and we love to see it. What is missing is maintaining that drive in all aspects of the brand.
Considering how big the brand is within the Muslim community, taking the lead in this can help encourage other brands to follow a similar path. We hope that Veiled Collection continues to grow its brand and takes steps towards giving back to the community that gives them so much.