Lately, the hijab has received more attention than ever from the fashion industry: In January, Dolce & Gabbana
released its inaugural collection of hijabs and abayas, making it one of the first luxury labels to specifically cater to its Middle Eastern customer. One month later, Hijarbie, the "hijab-wearing Barbie making it big on Instagram
," got people talking. There's even been a Kickstarter that asks for funding to create a climate-adjusting techno-hijab
. In other words, the meeting of modesty and modernity couldn't be more relevant.In 2015
, Hana Tajima
, a fashion designer and blogger, introduced a collection of modest clothing — think head scarves, pleated skirts, trousers, and long dresses that were breathable from head-to-toe thanks to carefully draped fabrics and cutouts — with Uniqlo. It was a game-changer. Following its success, Tajima and the retailer are teaming up once again.
Where last year's selection aimed to bring modest clothing to the masses, this offering takes modest fashion silhouettes to Uniqlo's Airism arena, meaning the pieces are crafted with fabrics that "quickly absorb and dissipate sweat" and are made with "moisturising ingredients used in cosmetics for a smooth, fitted feel," according to its website
To celebrate the launch of this globally inclusive match-up, we talked to Tajima exclusively about her inspiration and why this collection means so much for not just Muslim women, but for everyone. And for those who practice hijab, click through for a step-by-step tutorial on how to integrate her pieces into your daily routine.
Tell us about the inspiration behind this collection?
"I had become really fascinated by the way real wardrobes come together. The curation of different places and inspirations that becomes a reflection of a personality. The first thought I had for this collection was while I was driving through New Mexico. I was looking at the sparse vegetation and I suddenly felt I wanted to translate the reaction I had to that moment. It was only halfway through designing the collection that I realized the eclectic influences and the fluidity of the pieces were all trying to express this sense of travel and a body’s movement through a landscape, through a life."
How is this one different from the first?
"There was a feeling of minimalism in the first collection, where the details and silhouettes had a simplicity to them. For the spring/summer collection, I wanted to add a sense of juxtaposition; keeping the minimal aspect, but also adding complexity by way of prints, layers, and texture."
What was the design process with Uniqlo like?
"The process of designing for me is incredibly personal. I shut myself off in my studio for a couple of weeks and just dive in. I sort of disappear from the world and enter another. Once the ideas make sense to me and that I’m sure of the pieces and the way they will feel, I share it all with the wonderful team I’ve been working with at Uniqlo. We make development samples, concentrating on the fit and sometimes adjusting construction. This is the longest part of the process and it really allows us to shape the design into its truest form."
Did you face any challenges or designer's block along the way? If so, how did you overcome them and find a solution?
"I always finish a collection feeling used up, as though I’ll never be able to design a piece of clothing again. But something happens as soon as I get back in the studio; I start draping and suddenly, four or five hours have gone by. As soon as I start exploring a new thing, it feels like I might not ever be able to stop. It’s a sort of meditation, where I’m so completely in the present."
What does it mean to you to take the hijab to the masses?
"Now, more than ever, it’s important to recognise each other on a human level. To understand the varied complexities of other lives. As much as it’s about providing clothes for Muslim women, it’s also about giving an alternative voice in fashion and offering a different aesthetic that embraces women regardless of culture or religion. I think that because clothing is something we all relate to, it can help us find connections with each other."Hana Tijama for Uniqlo is available now at Uniqlo.