by Falaknaz Chranya
Photography by Brittany Chang
Anniesa Hasibuan, the mastermind behind one of New York Fashion Week’s highlights, constructed a whole line of hijabs and made history by swerving conventional thoughts on fashion and Muslim women. Though unsure about her line at first, substantial positive feedback reassured and encouraged her to bring her work westward. After a trying journey of working on this project, Hasibuan finally showed us her masterpiece, and confidently shared her beautiful art with the rest of the world.
Her line comments on the relationship between hijabis––those who wear hijabs––and their culture. It also highlights stereotypes of hijabs and hijabis and the normalcy of revealing clothing in the fashion history.
On her website, Hasibuan displays many collections of her work, most of which have some reference to royalty. Her “Princess of Morocco” series features her models in majestic gowns in a place that resembles a palace. She exploits the idea that hijabs are just long, black, heavy garments by creating glamorous and elaborate gowns with intricate beading and embroidery. In contrast, she subdues that concept by balancing out her heavy gowns with pastel, floral tunics and pantsuits of delicate fabrics. The elegance of her work upholds notions of confidence and high class. The name of one of her collections, “Sraddha,” even translates to sincerity and confidence.
This line would “allow hijabis to be more in fashion while still keeping their culture,” said Maya Gogia (SHA ’20). Hasibuan tells the Indonesian Newspaper that her simple and elegant line made with luxurious materials lets her wearers “feel like princesses in their day-to-day lives, not just on special occasions.”
Her work embodies themes of royalty and elegance while simultaneously putting down the harsh stereotypes that many hijabis face. Fashion is a statement of identity, and wearing a hijab is the identity of a great number of Americans, and even more women in the rest of the world. Hijabs do not have to be constricting and uncomfortable; they do not have to be bland and fear provoking.
“It’s pretty cool how she introduces a new perspective on this culture,” said Nexhat Mucka (CAS ’20).
She proposes the thought that women may actually choose to wear hijabs––and ones of high fashion too––rather than being forced to by societal pressures. Hasibuan promotes that wearing a hijab can be a pleasurable experience so much so that people may even want to try it because of its mesmerizing qualities. In doing so, she eases the integration of hijabs into modern culture in a way that is void of thoughts, of bombs and of oppression.
Hasibuan continues to disprove societal misconceptions by proving that fashion does not have to be revealing in order to have value. In a world of seductive, bare, long-legged models and plunging necklines covered with only simple crisscrosses of string, Anniesa Hasibuan’s new line introduces a new culture of modest fashion. Car commercials and billboards––promoting anything and everything––use women’s sexual appeal to advertise their products, displaying their bodies in manners that are less than demure to say the least. This has become the norm. This has become what our society expects and considers beautiful. Hasibuan’s work introduces the concept that fashion can be modest and that less does not have to be more.
“She uses her clothes as a canvas to put on intricacy instead of taking fabric off,” said Edwige Jean-Baptiste (CAS ‘20). By exhibiting hard-to-resist outfits, she casually derides the notion that covered women cannot be beautiful women.
Anniesa Hasibuan’s work speaks to hijabis, women in general and even society as a whole in their conceptions about fashion and a particular style. Macka notices that her work is marketed toward Muslim women as a community, which is an incredible concept in itself. By catering to a group of people who are seen as having little room to experiment with fashion, Hasibuan brings to light a completely new problem and a solution.
She ameliorates some of the turmoil that women who incorporate hijabs into their identity face by introducing the concept to the fashion world as an establishment of poise. She also invites the rest of the world to consider her opinions on modesty and beauty by establishing this groundbreaking mark in history.