New York Fashion Week is an interesting space, a juxtaposition of what's ahead and what still needs to be done—you come to see the designer's trends for the upcoming season, but leave pointing out the never-ending cultural appropriation and wondering why diversity and size inclusion still aren't the norm.
Then there are the wins, moments like Indonesian fashion designer Anniesa Hasibuan's show on Monday. This season, Hasibuan made history: She's the first Indonesian designer to feature her designs at NYFW and the first NYFW designer to have all their models walk the runway wearing hijabs.
It feels like an especially significant moment when the policing of Muslim women's bodies is still up for debate with France's (now suspended) ban of the burkini, a swimsuit specifically designed by Aheda Zanetti for Muslim women. But there have also been important moments for progress. Recently, H&M featured a hijab-wearing model in an advertising campaign, fashion brand Dolce & Gabbana created a line of abayas and hijabs, and Muslim teen Rayouf Alhumedhi has publicly campaigned for Apple to create inclusive emojis.
"I am so proud and thankful for everyone on the team who helped me so this event could happen, and I am thankful to international and local media from Indonesia for exposing my show. I did not realize the result can be this amazing, and I am thrilled and humbled by the welcome reaction given," Hasibuan said in a statement to CNN.
The 48 designs in her collection were inspired by Hasibuan's hometown. The models wore colorful gowns, tunics and suits, all paired with silk silver, pink and gold hijabs.
"I want to bring the Indonesian name to the fashion world, and use my clothes to introduce people to the different and diverse parts of Indonesia," Hasibuan told The Jakarta Post.
The show ended with a standing ovation from the audience. As a newcomer showing her first collection at one of the biggest fashion weeks in the world, that's one hell of an accomplishment and a big step forward for the modest fashion movement.
Tahirah Hairston is a style writer from Detroit who likes Susan Miller, Rihanna's friend's Instagram accounts, ramen and ugly-but cute shoes.