Nike is finally representing its female Muslim consumers as its sets out to release the “Nike Pro Hijab.”
Nike recently launched a video campaign featuring Middle Eastern female athletes (some in hijab, and some not). The “What Will They Say About You?” video is just the beginning for hijab-clad Muslim women.
A statement from Nike notes that the “Nike Pro Hijab’s” “impetus can be traced much further back, to an ongoing cultural shift that has seen more women than ever embracing sport.”
Several female Muslim athletes had the opportunity to test out the Nike Pro Hijab before its official release in the Spring of 2018. Emirati figure skater Zahra Lari, and Nike+ Run Club Coach Manal Rostom were among the first women to try out the athletic hijab. Because of the extreme weathers of the Middle East, Nike has focused on designing their hijab using a breathable mesh fabric. The feather-light hijab also includes tiny holes designed for breathability.
In recent years, several companies have come out in support of their Muslim consumers, many of whom have disavowed President Trump’s “Muslim Ban.” DKNY, Mango, Dolce and Gabbana among others have all come out with Muslim-friendly clothing lines opting for higher necklines and longer, looser pieces.
The discussion around hijab amplified further last summer as Ibtihaj Muhammad, the first American Olympian to compete in hijab, won a Bronze medal for the team sabre event in Fencing. In a historic games, Muhammad joined several other hijabi athletes at the Rio Summer Games.
This move by Nike proves that the inclusion of Muslims in both fashion and sport matters. It is part of a larger global discussion on representation and diversity, especially in times of divisiveness and political partisanship. Muslims, like any religious group, are involved in all aspects of life, including sport.