Veils are taking over the Spring 2019 runways, showing up in the collections of renowned fashion houses, such as Rodarte, Mary Katrantzou, and Erdem, to name just a few. And while many Western designers are opting to send out catwalkers wearing towering turbans, neatly tied scarves, and face-covering fabrics, others are choosing to up the ante on representation by casting hijab-wearing models.
Among these is Christelle Kocher, the founder of Paris-based label Koché, who tapped Algerian model Feriel Moulaï to showcase pieces from the label’s latest offering. Wearing loose, orange trousers paired with a beige, sequin-covered top and matching scarf, Moulaï’s appearance is believed to have marked the first time a model represented veiled women during Paris Fashion Week. “I was so excited,” she told to Vogue.me. “It is a wonderful experience to walk in Fashion Week, particularly in Paris. It’s a bit revolutionary to have a model wearing a headscarf in the capital of France. I think it’s the first time in the history of Paris Fashion Week.”
Moulaï, who is signed to Bame Models in the UK and Dominique Models in Brussels, also walked for Fashion Scout London during London Fashion Week. And while it was the former agency responsible for securing her stint in London, she credits an Instagram casting call for landing her on the Koché runway.
The biochemist-turned-catwalker, who is based in Belgium, first discovered her passion for modeling when she was only a child. “The world of fashion has always fascinated me,” she mused. Prior to her gigs at Koché and Fashion Scout London, Feriel was a fixture on the runways of modest fashion shows spanning from London to Muscat, never once viewing her hijab as an obstacle. “Religion has never been a barrier for me,” she says, crediting stylists for dressing her in clothes that are comfortable and acceptable to her beliefs. “Stylists are making the modeling world a place where anyone can be themselves, and feel comfortable.”
Moulaï joins a handful of other hijab-wearing models making serious waves in the industry, including former Vogue Arabia cover star Halima Aden, Ikram Abdi Omar, Kadija Diawara, and Amina Adan, who have all appeared on the runway this Spring 2019 season.