If you have paid any attention to Vogue magazine covers, well, ever, you know that they have a bit of a controversial history. This has been especially true within the last few years. We’ve seen blonde and white Karlie Kloss dressed as a Geisha. We were surprised to see another white, blonde model, Gigi Hadid, gracing the cover of Vogue Arabia wearing a Hijab. Around the same time, Gigi appeared on the cover of Vogue Italia, wearing an afro. A recent Vogue cover that seemed to be an attempt at diversity was slammed for not being “diverse enough.” And that’s only a few examples. So, anyway, we’re happy to announce that the June 2017 issue of Vogue Arabia is making headlines for a good reason: their cover model is 19-year-old Halima Aden, a Somali-American model who graces the cover in a hijab.
In case you didn’t realize, this is awesome. Halima first sparked national attention when she became the first model to wear a burkini and a hijab in the Miss. Minnesota USA pageant in 2016. She was then signed to IMG models, and became the first hijab-wearing model to walk an international runway in the Yeezy fashion show. This was a huge win for diversity and acceptance in the fashion industry, which has traditionally been very, uh, white. So, Halima being on the cover of Vogue Arabia is super important for everyone, not just girls, to see, especially with the recent backlash that that girls wearing hijabs have experienced due to an increase of Islamophobia.
The gorgeous magazine cover isn’t the only reason to try to find a copy of this issue – Halima is also interviewed, and discusses the importance of identity and representation. In the promotional video, Halima says, “Every little girl deserves to see a role model that’s dressed like her, resembles her or even has the same characteristics as her. I think beauty is for everyone and I think everyone can look beautiful, you just have to be confident.” In addition to wearing her hijab, she is also wearing her braces. This doesn’t seem like a big deal, but how often do you see cover models with braces rather than perfect pearly whites? People have braces! Let’s embrace it!
It might not sound like a big deal that someone like Halima is on the cover of a magazine – after all, she’s a model. It’s part of her job! But it is a big deal, because this is an industry that has always seemed to favor models that fit a certain type: tall, skinny, blonde (with some exceptions, of course). Vogue is arguably the biggest and most prestigious fashion magazine out there, making it a major force. When they recognize a woman of color like Halima, they give representation to millions of girls.
This might be a small step in the fashion world trying to be more inclusive, but it’s an important one. Sure, we need to have more of this representation in the other issues of Vogue, but I hope they pay attention to the amount of support that the Vogue Arabia cover gets. The more we talk about it and celebrate it, the more likely Vogue is to feature more diverse cover models and spark conversations about what it’s like to be every type of woman.
What do you think of this new cover? Tell us in the comments!