DUBAI: Before US-Somali Halima Aden made her runway debut at the Yeezy Season 5 Show at New York Fashion Week in 2016, a model wearing a hijab on an international runway was virtually unheard of. Fortunately, since then, the industry has been making strides when it comes to representation and inclusivity.
In recent years, we’ve witnessed the rise of a diverse set of models strutting down the catwalk wearing their headscarves. Chief among them is Ugbad Abdi, the Somali beauty who has captured the attention of major brands and designers, including Marc Jacobs, whom she opened the Fall 2019 show for.
She would go on to grace the catwalks of Lanvin, Dries Van Noten, Burberry, Max Mara and Michael Kors, for whom she recently fronted a campaign, among others.
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@MichaelKors Spring 2020 campaign celebrating American style ⚡️ Shot by @inezandvinoodh & Styled by @paulcavaco Hair @jamespecis makeup @dickpageface Thank you to the loveliest team to have worked with and the most beautiful dogs Thank you dearest Michael & @pg_dmcasting for this incredible opportunity xx
And it appears that the model, who made headlines as the first hijab-wearing model to walk for Fendi in 2019, is showing no signs of slowing down.
The 19-year-old is currently taking New York Fashion Week by storm, appearing on the runway of R13 before shutting down the Anna Sui and Oscar de la Renta catwalks on Monday.
At New York-based label Anna Sui, the rising star had two runway turns, first appearing in a long, fur-lined coat and wide-brimmed hat before changing into a graphic hoodie and shearling coat worn with a sheer, purple skirt over vibrant red tights.
Abdi walked among a star-studded cast that included Nora Attal, Imaan Hammam and Bella Hadid, among others.
Meanwhile, at Oscar de la Renta, which showcased its Fall 2020 collection at the New York Public Library in the presence of a star-studded front row that included Nicky Hilton Rothschild and Logan Browning, the model stepped onto the runway just after show-opener Bella Hadid, wearing a navy pull-over tucked into hot pink, loose-fitting trousers.
Like Aden, Abdi grew up in a Kenyan refugee camp before moving to Iowa with her family when she was nine-years-old. Her big break came in 2018, when she stepped out on the Valentino Spring 2019 couture runway just before the show-closer, Naomi Campbell.
Now, with London, Milan and Paris Fashion Week still to come, one thing is for certain: We can expect a lot more striking runway moments from Abdi.