Halima Aden

Halima & Tommy Hilfiger In Conversation: ‘Inclusivity Is More Than A Buzzword’

Halima & Tommy Hilfiger In Conversation: ‘Inclusivity Is More Than A Buzzword’

HA: Another key point is opportunity for all. What does that look like at Tommy Hilfiger?
TH: We want to become a more informed organization that creates a strong sense of belonging. From designer to factory worker, everyone in our business deserves to feel valued, supported, and have their voice heard. There are a few internal programs being developed to support this, which I hope we can share soon!
HA: Recently, Tommy Hilfiger launched the People’s Place Program to advance the representation of black, indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) communities within the fashion and creative industries. Can you share a bit about that?
TH: At 18, I created the original People’s Place as a dedicated space for people from all walks of life to come together to enjoy art, music, fashion, and pop culture. Shaped by the cultural revolution of the 1960s, the original store fostered an exchange of ideas, encouraged authentic self-expression, and challenged social norms. It is in this spirit that the People’s Place Program has been founded, with the aim to advance the representation of BIPOC within the fashion and creative industries. To achieve this, we will be annually committing a minimum of US $5 million for the next three years and focusing on partnerships, career access, and industry leadership that advance this mission.
The Original People’s Place, launched by Tommy Hilfiger when he was 18

HA: You’ve been outspoken in your support of the Black Lives Matter movement. Can you share some of the changes you’ve made within the company with regards to that?
TH: So many steps have already been taken to create more opportunities and platforms for all associates to listen and be heard. We have also rolled out mandatory “unconscious bias” training to all associates, provided resources to develop a deeper understanding of systemic racism, and launched an educational event series on racial justice. But there is always more to be done, and we won’t stop until our organization, and our industry, is truly open, inclusive, and equal.
Aden at the Tommy Hilfiger x Zendaya show at Paris Fashion Week, 2019

HA: One of the things I most admire about you is your commitment to helping the world’s most vulnerable children, as the mission resonates so personally with me. I was thrilled to attend and see you recognized and honored at the Save the Children event last year. Can you share what your hope is and how you continue to work to provide opportunities to our future leaders?
TH: Since I received such incredible advice early on in my career, I have stayed passionate about mentoring future fashion designers and industry leaders. We have a responsibility to use our platform to advance upcoming talent across all creative mediums. And by building partnerships, we are providing the next generation of leaders with resources, advice, connections, and support.
HA: One of the highlights of my career was wearing a custom Tommy Hilfiger burkini in the pages of Sports Illustrated Swim. What does it mean to you to be highlighting a piece that is geared towards not only Muslim women, but modest dressing women in general?

TH: It was such an honor to work with you and Sports Illustrated on this statement-making moment. When I began designing at 18, my philosophy was to start with the consumer: how they wanted to dress, what they thought was cool, what they needed. This approach is even more important today so we can keep expanding our understanding of what makes beautiful, classic, exciting fashion that is accessible to and inclusive of everyone.
HA: Any final thoughts or a message you would like to share with all of your fans in the Middle East?
TH: I have always admired the elegance of Middle Eastern fashion. I love to see the unique twist our fans across the region put on our collections. It really inspires me to experiment with new approaches.
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Originally published in the December 2020 Issue of Vogue Arabia 

Halima Aden Reveals Plan to be First Miss Somalia to Enter Miss Universe

Halima Aden Reveals Plan to be First Miss Somalia to Enter Miss Universe

Halima Aden photographed by Txema Yeste for Vogue Arabia April 2019 issue

Halima Aden is a force to be reckoned with. A champion of female empowerment and inclusivity, the Somali-American model is responsible for shattering countless stereotypes. Now, she has announced her plans to enter the Miss Universe beauty pageant as the first-ever Miss Somalia.
Vogue Arabia’s Diversity-Editor-at-large, Aden took to social media over the weekend to state her wishes to be Somalia’s first representative in the international pageant. “All those other ‘firsts’ have prepared me for my true calling! I will be the first Miss Somalia on the stage of Miss Universe,” said Aden. The 23-year-old previously participated at the Miss Minnesota USA pageant in 2017, making history as the first hijabi woman to do so.
Halima Aden (back), Ikram Abdi Omar (front left), Amina Adan (front right) photographed by Txema Yeste for Vogue Arabia April 2019 issue

The news follows Aden’s recent reflection on Instagram about her early career and her hijab journey. The model shared how past career experiences made her feel “uncomfortable”.
Openly admitting her regrets of not refusing certain shoots that didn’t follow her beliefs, Aden noted that she will “never again” take a job that requires her to change her hijab.
Halima Aden (back), Ikram Abdi Omar (front left), Amina Adan (front right) photographed by Txema Yeste for Vogue Arabia April 2019.

Following her honest reflections, Aden received many words of support and encouragement from adoring friends and fans across the world. Vogue Arabia Editor-in-Chief Manuel Arnaut praised Aden for her candid thoughts while Aden revealed her Vogue Arabia April 2019 cover, alongside Ikram Abdi Omar and Amina Adan,  was her mother’s favorite, because “the hijab was visible”.
Elsewhere, Rihanna and fellow models Gigi and Bella Hadid, all shared how proud they were of Aden’s honest posts. “It is so important, as a hijabi or not, to self reflect and get back on track with what feels genuine,” wrote Gigi. “My sis Halima, you have inspired me since the day I met you and you continue to make me proud. Keep shining.”
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Halima Aden and Hend Sabri are the Stars of Etro’s Latest Campaign

Halima Aden and Hend Sabri are the Stars of Etro’s Latest Campaign

Somali-American model Halima Aden photographed by Matthias Vriens for Etro’s Pegasus Club Campaign. Photo: Courtesy of Etro

Etro has unveiled its latest campaign and it features some very special stars, notably Somali-American model Halima Aden and Tunisian actor Hend Sabri.
The Italian label chose Aden and Sabri to star among the diverse line-up for its new Pegasus Club Campaign. Aden and Sabri join models Alton Mason, Elsa Hosk, actor Hikari Mori, rapper Myss Keta, Italian fashion expert Anna Dello Russo, and Spanish socialite Naty Abascal for the campaign which celebrates Etro’s Pegaso bag, which debuted in the brand’s Fall 2020 runway show this year.
Tunisian actor Hend Sabri photographed by Matthias Vriens for Etro’s Pegasus Club Campaign. Photo: Courtesy of Etro

The Pegaso cross-body bag is a re-imagined design of a style dating back to the 80s, with its name derived from the winged stallion of Greek mythology, an image that has been synonymous with the brand since 1968. Shot by Dutch photographer Matthias Vriens, the images show the iconic Pegaso bag in two different sizes and versions with a glossy finish in black, red, yellow, and electric blue colors. Vogue Arabia’s Diversity Editor-at-Large, Aden, can be seen modeling the glossy red style, while Vogue Arabia’s September 2020 cover star Sabri is seen holding the blue colorway.
23-year-old Aden is one of the most sought-after models in the fashion world. The former Vogue Arabia cover star was the first model to wear a hijab on international runways in 2016, and the first hijab-wearing woman to be featured on the cover of Vogue. The model and activist, who grew up in a Kenyan refugee camp, has recently celebrated buying her first home, in Minnesota in the US.

Both Aden and Sabri are formidable women in their respective fields, with the Tunisian actor being one of the most in-demand actors in the region. The Egypt-based actor has been a longtime champion of female empowerment in the Arab world, both on and off-screen, often portraying roles that reveal the overlooked complexities of Arab women. Furthering her commitment to inspiring young, regional creatives, Sabri was recently named as the head of the jury panel for a filmmaking challenge to encourage young filmmakers from Saudi Arabia to produce new work.
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