by Amanda DelaCruz

H&M just launched it's new fall collection. What is surprising about this is that one of the poster girls for it is Maria Hidrissi, a young Muslim girl in a hijab. In Toronto this seems like it should have been done years ago - we are so multicultural that we take it for granted. It is something we don't notice as unique until we have been in other countries. 

I wouldn't call myself a fashionista but I do care about how I dress. As a Muslim woman it's hard to find modest clothing that I like. My favourite time to shop is in the Fall because that's when all the long sleeved tops come out. If I don't make it in that crucial time period the mall is either still selling tank tops or has already moved on to winter sweaters.

I follow some fashionista, or as they're sometimes called hijabista Muslim girls on Instagram, but for me, it's hard to find a realistic fashion or make up source to gain any kind of inspiration from. 

I like to be comfortable and I wear scrubs at work, so I'm not willing to wear false eyelashes or take an hour to get my makeup on in the morning like some of the make up artist Instagrammers. Some of the fashion bloggers like Ascia from Kuwait simply seem to have an unlimited amount of money or endorsements to spend on high end designer goods that are just not realistic or desirable in my day to day life. I doubt the average Muslim girl has that amount of time or money to emulate these girls - not that I feel that this is a worthy goal in the first place. It is just something I'd rather view than a collection of summer clothes that are just too revealing for me to even bother trying to make modest. 

I guess you could say it is simply refreshing to see a religiously conscious model wearing the kind of easily accessible clothes that I could find down the street. 

There is a saying "Allahu Jameel wa yuheb Al-Jamel" and it means that "God is beautiful and he loves beauty."

In regards to Muslim fashion there tends to be strongly worded arguments for both sides. When I see Muslim women in the media they are either shown as "Muslim Barbies" or the exact opposite - completely covered with no adornments. There are those who argue that we should not focus on our outer beauty at all, while others adhere to the mantra "Only God can judge me." But realistically, few young people are comfortable wearing a burka or going outside without makeup. There is a saying "Allahu Jameel wa yuheb Al-Jamel" and it means that "God is beautiful and he loves beauty." I think H&M did a great job with Maria, she simply looks classy and modest.

H&M's upcoming campaign Close The Loop highlights other models of various cultures such as a Japanese woman in a kimono and Sikh men in turbans. For a city like Toronto, this type of inclusive fashion campaign is as accurate a representation of the diversity of people living here that you can get without becoming a United Colors of Benetton ad. 

What do you think about H&M's inclusive new fall campaign? Let us know in the comments below. 

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