Introducing Shahira Yusuf, Britain’s Latest Hijab-Wearing Model!!
London-born with Somali origins; Shahira is going to be one of Britain’s first hijab-wearing catwalk models and possibly the next biggest thing. Shahira was first discovered at the age of 17 but she wasn’t ready then; she was worried about the fashion industry and its ability to “swallow you up” she explained. However, upon entering the business after being discovered by Storm Agency’s founder Sarah Doukas - who was also responsible for the discovery of Kate Moss - she set up clear boundaries about what she would be willing to do!
Instead of trying to pave the way for more ethnic-looking models in the business, Shahira aims for the exact opposite; inclusivity through normalising the differences and making them as familiar to the eye as the next person.
“I’m conscious of the fact that I’m visibly Muslim but it’s not a huge deal, I don’t want to be considered the token girl. I don’t want ethnic models or those from different religious backgrounds to just pave the way - I want the way to stay there, to become a norm within society because it is a norm outside of the modelling sphere.”
Shahira is empowering young Muslim girls everywhere and giving them hope to feel that they can master anything they set their minds on. She made serious headlines last year after she posted a tweet with pictures of herself wearing an oversized grey suit with the caption “I ain’t no Kendall Jenner but I’m a black Muslim girl from east London that’s about to finesse the modelling industry.”
Modest wear industry is a fast growing market and fashion designers the world over are finally taking notice of the demands of the clientele and their serious spending power. It is believed that politics played a major role in transforming the hijab from a conservative symbol to a fashionable expression of identity. Muslim girls however, still struggle to maintain the intricate balance between being modest and being fashionably attired where they run the risk of attracting attention which defeats the whole purpose of hijab. However, wearing the hijab in a fashionable way empowers young women and let’s them show the world that this is actually their choice and it is in no way a sign of oppression.