Indonesian fashion designer Anniesa Hasibuan made a political statement at New York Fashion Week this week by exclusively casting immigrant models for her show.
Hasibuan — who made history last year when she unveiled the fashion world’s first all-hijab collection in New York — told Elle.com that one of the purposes of her show was to prove that hijab-wearing women “can be as stylish and glamorous as other women can be.”
“This show was the opportunity to show that Islam is beautiful,” she told the outlet. “I believe everyone should be presented with equal opportunities, especially if he or she has passion, talents, and skills, because not all immigrants are ‘bad.’ We’ve proved they are beautiful and a great contribution to the States.”
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Hasibuan’s February 2017 collection featured a number of floor-length, neutral-colored dresses, while each of the models walking down the runway donned a light-gray hijab. Each of the models was reportedly either an immigrant or a second-generation child of an immigrant.
According to Elle, prospective models were asked their views on politics during the casting process.
“For me, fashion is an open world. I don’t want to discriminate,” Hasibuan told the outlet. “The ability to express diversity in this business is a value that I hold on to. [Diversity] is what fashion is for me.”
The 28-year-old designer made a splash at last year’s New York Fashion Week when she became the first designer to incorporate traditional Islamic hijabs in each one of her designs. The show reportedly drew a lengthy standing ovation.
“I want to bring the Indonesian name to the fashion world, and use my clothes to introduce people to the different and diverse parts of Indonesia,” Hasibuan told her hometown newspaper, The Jakarta Post, last year.
Hasibuan isn’t the only designer to have used the runways at New York Fashion Week to make political statements; this week, Mexican designer Raul Solis’s models walked the runways in underwear featuring phrases like “F*ck your wall” and “We are all human beings.”
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