Catwalk Coverage – Hijabs On The Runway

Non-hijabi hijabis - Victoria Beckham’s Autumn/Winter 2011 debut collection

Covering of the hair is typically associated with faith. Nuns, orthodox Jewish and Muslim women most notably wear a form of head covering for reasons of religious conviction. So, I was immediately intrigued when I came across prominent fashion designers who displayed covered hair as a feature of their collection this Autumn.

Perceptibly, the designers who have chosen to veil their models’ hair have not done so for religious compliance. It does makes one wonder, why hide the hair? What effect does subtracting the models’ otherwise stylish hair, have upon their collection?

British Fashion designer, Victoria Beckham’s 2011 Autumn/Winter Collection chose to concealed the entire hair of all her models. I have always admired the simplistic cuts of VB designs, and yet by utilising head covering for her latest illustrations the VB signature straight cut was further pronounced. The products certainly pop from the page with definition, which attracted me to the collection even more.

Given that catwalks and photo-shoots often reflect the artistic vision of the designer I took another glance at the catwalk. When looking at these coveted models the artistic effect became clear. Only the product dominates. There were no suspended flying hair, futuristic model looks or eccentric editions . The focus is entirely on the garment. Emphasis is laid upon the fabric, the bias cut and grain. It was almost like a heightened canvas, bringing to mind focal artwork pieces such as Johammes Vemeers ‘Girl with a Pearl Earring’ painting.

VB Autumn/winter 2011 Collection - uncharacteristically classy and full sleeved

Certainly, more dramatically Louise Goldin presented her 2007 knitwear collection at London Fashion Week with a head covering similar to a Niqab.

Personally, the usage of a hair covering made it easier to visualise how it would look on me as a Muslim hijabi (you know, just in case I do happen to get my hands on a VB or Marc Jacobs). 

Also, the unfussy canvas undoubtedly makes it easier for mainstream fashion to directly translate. 

Ultimately, it also portrays that even when art is stripped down to its essentials, it is still beautiful. What do you think of this usage of covered hair models? Does it have any effect on how you look at the fashion garments?

Nazma Miah


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