The Nike Pro Hijab has been nominated for this year’s Beazley Design of the Year award, which was won by Ikea’s flatpack refugee shelter last year. The award’s aim is to recognise the world’s best designs in six different categories – fashion, architecture, digital, graphics, product, and transport – before naming an overall winner. Along with the Nike Pro Hijab, the fashion category also features Kanye West’s Life of Pablo, and Aitor Throup’s The Rite of Spring/Summer/Autumn/Winter menswear show, and a politically-charged pink knitted hat. All shortlisted designs will be on show at the Design Museum in London from October 18, with the winners of each category and one overall winner announced on January 25, 2018.
Read on to uncover how the Nike Pro Hijab came into being…
Following its successful “What Will They Say About You Campaign” and the Nike+ Training Club App in Arabic, Nike has revealed its next-level plans to make global sports more inclusive for women with the introduction of the Nike Pro Hijab. Following the announcement, Vogue Arabia spoke to the campaign’s stars, Zahra Lari and Manal Rostom, about how this launch points to a broader diversity in sports across the GCC region and the world.
Lari, an Emirati figure skater, reflects: “People may think or tell you that you can’t do certain things, but I’m going to show them you absolutely can. I am covered, I am Muslim, I am from a desert country, and I’m doing a winter sport.” After years of product testing on female, hijab-wearing athletes, including Lari and Nike+ Run Club Coach Manal Rostom, the final prototype evolved to become the product revealed today. Nike has gone for its most breezy fabric in a stretch-fit. The design features an elongated back to avoid it becoming untucked during performance. Of course, the Nike swoosh is in place above the ear.
The Nike Women movement has broader strokes than one would initially suspect. Rostom explains: “There are a lot of…women and girls who are breaking barriers. For me growing up, though, I never had these women to look up to. I had to break these barriers for myself.” With the profile of hijab-wearing women entering the premium fashion subconscious – case in point, hijab-wearing Halima Aden walked for MaxMara Fall 2017 – and the professional sportswear market catering to the Muslim faith, we are witnessing an unraveling of inclusivity.
So what does this mean to the women who helped forge the first Nike sports hijab? “People should know that Emirati athletes are strong,” says Lari. “We’re confident women who know what we want to do, and we work very hard to accomplish what needs to be accomplished.”
The Nike Pro Hijab will be available in Spring 2018.
In Vogue Arabia: Meet the Arab Athletes Breaking Boundaries.