Sports clothing manufacturer Nike is introducing a new line of Muslim friendly sportswear which will include a hijab head covering featuring the Nike swoosh brand logo.
The new “Nike Pro Hijab” is the result of several years of advocacy and product development, the company says. It is made of a light, stretchy material with an extended cape to prevent the covering from becoming untucked during strenuous movement. A Nike swoosh is emblazoned prominently above the wearer’s ears.
Zahra Lari, an Emirati figure skater, celebrated the new product telling Vogue Arabic, “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,” she said.
“People should know that Emirati athletes are strong,” Lari added. “We’re confident women who know what we want to do, and we work very hard to accomplish what needs to be accomplished.”
— Rowaida Abdelaziz (@Rowaida_Abdel) March 7, 2017
“The Nike Pro Hijab has been a year in the making, but its impetus can be traced much further back to Nike’s founding mission, to serve athletes, with the signature addendum: If you have a body, you’re an athlete,” the company said in its announcement statement.
The Nike Pro Hijab will be available in three colors, black, vast grey, and obsidian, later this year or early in 2018, Nike said.
A TV commercial released by the company recently stirred controversy in the Middle East. The ad, featuring five Muslim women competitors, has gone viral across the Muslim world, according to CNN.
Many Muslim women have expressed delight by the announcement.
I audibly gasped when I read that @Nike was coming out with a sport hijab.
It's like all my dreams have come true.
— Balsam (@bslam15) March 6, 2017
Nike releasing a line pro hijab athletes 😍❤️❤️❤️
— Taibah AlBaker (@talbaker) March 7, 2017
Others, though, reacted negatively to the swoosh brand featured so prominently on the covering and other aspects of the product.
— Malika Bilal (@mmbilal) March 7, 2017
Nike is a business that is free to do as they like. Hijab won't make anyone a better athlete. It creates drag.
— AnniceMichelle📃 (@annicemichelle) March 7, 2017
When it released its hijab commercial, some Muslim women were quick to note that not every Muslim majority nation forces women to wear hijabs.
'We do not wear a hijab and go running in the streets': Nike faces backlash over 'feminist' advert aimed at Arab… https://t.co/4X0LUczffp
— UnhyphenatedAmerica (@UnhyphenAmerica) February 24, 2017
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