Burberry unveils Ikram Abdi Omar as first hijab-clad model to star in festive campaign

Ikram Abdi Omar first hit the runway in 2018. (File/Getty Images)
Updated 02 November 2019

Burberry unveils Ikram Abdi Omar as first hijab-clad model to star in festive campaign

  • Ikram Abdi Omar is the first hijab-wearing star to feature in Burberry’s annual festive season campaign
  • The model is part of a cohort of fresh faces who will appear in the campaign

DUBAI: UK-raised model Ikram Abdi Omar has just been revealed as the first hijab-wearing star to feature in Burberry’s annual festive season campaign.

Born in Sweden to Somali parents and raised in the UK, the model is part of a cohort of fresh faces who will appear in the campaign, which is set to be unveiled on Nov. 13.

Omar is joined in the campaign by the likes of Chinese actress Zhou Dongyu, artist Boychild, filmmaker Wu Tsang, Brazilian model Lea T, Russian model Sasha Pivovarova, South Korean actor Yoo Ah-in and footballer Ruben Loftus-Cheek, as well as musicians Mahmood and Carla Bruni.

Burberry’s creative director Riccardo Tisci teased fans with a sneak peak of the adverts over the weekend, with fairies and fauns seeming to be the theme for the magical campaign.

Omar was the first hijab-wearing model to be signed to elite London agency Bookings Models and made her fashion week debut with designer Molly Goddard in 2018. Since then, the model has graced the covers of international magazines and worked with luxury e-retailer The Modist.

She took to Instagram to share her excitement about the upcoming campaign.



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@farfetch x @burberry

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“Do you know what’s crazy, last year I met @naomi ‘s mum @valeriemorriscampbell and congratulated her for being featured in the 2018 Burberry festive campaign with her daughter,” she said, referring to iconic British model Naomi Campbell and her mother.

“I can’t believe that I’m part of this year’s @burberry festive campaign omggg! It’s out Nov 13th and I can’t wait to show you guys the images (sic),” she added.

“I have always looked at magazines and I’ve always seen not enough representation and thought ‘I can be that person to change that,’” Omar told the BBC in 2018.

“We need to be more inclusive in the industry, there are a lot of different faces out there that need to be recognized,” she added.

“I want to be the hijabi model that walks for brands like Givenchy, Louis Vuitton and Gucci. I want to be at a stage where when they think of a hijabi model, they think of me,” she later told The Modist’s monthly magazine.

Past stars of Burberry’s famously creative festive campaigns include Cara Delevingne, Matt Smith and Romeo Beckham — indicating that this year’s shift toward diversity is a conscious choice by the British brand.


‘Love on the Spectrum’ is heartfelt, authentic and real

Updated 15 August 2020

‘Love on the Spectrum’ is heartfelt, authentic and real

DHAHRAN: Right on the heels of “Indian Matchmaking,” Netflix acquired streaming rights to Australian dating show “Love on the Spectrum” for a global audience. While these releases offer minority groups visibility and representation in mainstream media (the Indian diaspora and adults on the autism spectrum, respectively) the latter takes a nuanced and thoughtful approach to matchmaking.

“Love on the Spectrum” is also a refreshing departure from the Netflix brand of glamorous, hypersexual reality TV as endorsed by “Too Hot to Handle” and “Love is Blind,” both of which were released earlier this year.

First released on the Australian Broadcast Corp. last fall, the unscripted show follows seven singles on the autism spectrum as they look for love and companionship, and two autistic couples as they make momentous relationship decisions.

“Love on the Spectrum” is also a refreshing departure from the Netflix brand of glamorous, hypersexual reality TV. Supplied

Unobtrusive and done respectfully, the show offers insight into their lives and vulnerabilities — what autism on the spectrum looks like for each individual, the challenges they face in social situations, and why they seek companionship. Alongside heart-warming interviews with participants and their families, the episodes feature first dates, mixer events and sessions with autism or relationship experts.

The highlight of the show remains raw human emotions and the participants’ endearing personalities that shine through. One cannot help but laugh out loud at 25-year-old Michael’s one-liners that double as sage advice.

The highlight of the show remains raw human emotions and the participants’ endearing personalities. Supplied

But while these “quirks” seem loveable and endearing to a neuro-typical audience, autistic audiences have voiced that in their quest to make a show interesting, these snippets romanticize high-functioning autism and disregard Level 3 autism (the most severe). They have also voiced a desire to see an autistic and non-autistic pairing.

At the outset, a show that follows autistic young adults in the dating world may not seem like something one can relate to. But as the five-part docuseries unravels, one can agree that the universal experience of navigating the dating world and finding love is difficult — autistic or not. With awkward first dates and heartbreak, “Love on the Spectrum” is heartfelt, authentic and real, and therein lies the appeal of the show.