Hijab-wearing Muslim model takes center stage at Kanye fashion show

Halima Aden helps West unveil Yeezy Season 5 collection

By Michelle Ganley - Online Editor
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NEW YORK - Do you remember Halima Aden, the Somali-American woman who competed last year in the Miss Minnesota USA pageant in her hijab?

Aden, who is Muslim, was the first to compete in the state pageant fully dressed. The 19-year-old made the semifinals while wearing a hijab, and also donned a full-body outfit called a burkini for the swimsuit competition, despite most of the other 44 contestants wearing bikinis.

She didn’t win the pageant -- but she’s back.

Aden walked Wednesday in Kanye West’s show at New York Fashion Week, as the rapper-turned-fashion designer unveiled his Yeezy Season 5 collection.

 

A post shared by Halima Aden (@kinglimaa) on

Aden wore a floor-length fur coat and a hijab. The teen, who was born in a Kenyan refugee camp, also recently signed with modeling agency IMG.

“I signed with the top modeling agency in the WORLD and still wore my hijab as my crown,” Aden posted on her Instagram page. “Don't ever change yourself. Change the game. … I am so excited to join the @imgmodels family and spread the message that diversity IS beauty.”

IMG doesn’t have any other models who wear hijabs.

This week’s event marked Aden’s first time walking in a show after she surfaced as a face to watch in the pageant last November.

Before the pageant, Aden said the competition was "a great platform to show the world who I am," the Associated Press reported. At the time, Aden was a college student living in St. Cloud, Minnesota. She wore the traditional Muslim headpiece throughout the entire competition. Her evening dress was modest and covered up as well.

Aden had never before competed in a pageant.

 

A post shared by Halima Aden (@kinglimaa) on

Buzzfeed News reported in November that Aden decided to join the contest to break negative stereotypes of Muslim-Americans, especially Somali-Americans and Muslim women. Aden emigrated with her parents as a child to Minnesota.

West’s show lasted about 13 minutes. Many of his models sported '90s-style looks that included denim jackets, along with plain pants and boots. The Wednesday event was unusual for its huge screens, but the clothes seemed uncharacteristically normal and comfortable looking, for West, anyway, according to the AP.

The celebrity guest list included ASAP Ferg and La La Anthony, Pusha T, Kylie Jenner, Tyga and Hailey Baldwin. West has been staying largely off the radar since his hospitalization for exhaustion and the abrupt end to his "Life of Pablo" tour.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Graham Media Group 2017