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Exclusive: Go Behind the Scenes of Burberry’s Festive Campaign Starring Hijabi Model Ikram Abdi Omar

Ikram Abdi Omar for Burberry. Photographed by Mert Alas & Marcus Piggott. Courtesy of Burberry

Ikram Abdi Omar is making fashion history once again as the first hijabi model to star in a festive campaign and we couldn’t be more proud. The former Vogue Arabia cover star is one of the 14 models cast for Burberry’s annual holiday campaign, renowned for its star-studded cast from various corners of the globe. This year, Omar is joined by Italian-Egyptian singer Mahmood, Russian model and longtime Prada muse Sasha Pivovarova, Chinese actress Zhou Dongyu, Brazilian model Lea T, and French-Italian former supermodel turned musician Carla Bruni, among many other diverse faces. 

Photographed by Mert Alas & Marcus Piggott. Courtesy of Burberry

We had high hopes for Riccardo Tisci’s first festive campaign since he became chief creative officer of Burberry in March 2018 and began a new era for the iconic British label–especially since his Christmas campaign starring former Vogue Arabia cover star Naomi Campbell last year was a rousing success–and it surpassed all expectations.

“I am connected to the idea of unity, togetherness and challenging the perception of what love is today, “said Tisci. “This for me is the real spirit of the season. It’s one of my favorite times of the year – when I can stop, reflect and reconnect with those who make me feel happy and at home, no matter where I am in the world. I loved the idea of bringing together a group of people that have been so supportive of me since I joined Burberry to celebrate my first holiday campaign for the house.”

The 2019 campaign features a short film of the cast answering the age-old question of “What is Love?” while dancing to the tune of the same name in glamorous chain-mail dresses, staple trench coats, and a few fantastical details. Shot by masterful Turkish photography duo Mert Alas & Marcus Piggott, the clip is a clear celebration of “togetherness, union, hope, and love.”

‘The shoot was magical – I had so much fun! The team was outstanding and I have always respected Riccardo and his work ethic and dedication,” said Omar. “He was so professional and calm. It was my dream to work with Burberry – it was an honor to be a part of it.”


Born in Sweden, raised in the UK, but Somalian by heritage, Omar has become one of the most sought-after models of this generation and a symbol of diversity and inclusivity in the fashion industry. As the first hijabi-model to sign with British Booking Models agency, Omar walked for Molly Goddard’s Fall 2018 collection at London Fashion Week soon after. Since that unforgettable debut, the 22-year-old has modeled for brands like Ryan Lo and Zandra Rhodes Archive, changing the perception of the hijab and leading an international conversation about modest fashion from within. 

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