Nike has upped the stakes when it comes to inclusivity by announcing the launch of the Nike Pro Hijab. First, Nike debuted the ‘What will they say about you’ ad campaign that featured five inspirational Middle Eastern women. Now, they have announced that this modest sportswear product will be available from Spring 2018.
Nike have said in a statement, “The Nike Pro Hijab may have been more than a year in the making, but its impetus can be traced much further back, to an ongoing cultural shift that has seen more women than ever embracing sport. This movement first permeated international consciousness in 2012, when a hijabi runner took the global stage in London.”
Hijabs, in fact, are no stranger to high level sports competition. Indeed, Saudi Arabia’s Sarah Attar competed at the 2012 London Olympics in the 800m heats wearing a hijab. Before her, Bahraini sprinter Ruqaya al-Ghasra also competed with a hijab during the Athens Olympics in 2004 and in Beijing in 2008. Emirati female Olympic weightlifting athlete Amna Al Haddad also competes in a hijab.
The Nike Pro Hijab is made from stretchy, breathable mesh fabric that has been tested extensively by athletes that wear headscarves as part of their sporting attire. Among those who tested out the hijab are Zahra Lari, the Emirati figure skater and Manal Rostom, a Nike+ Run Club Coach; both feature in the campaign imagery.
The piece has been modified for performance; the back of the hijab is longer so it stays tucked and doesn’t come loose during activity and there are tiny holes in the fabric to keep the wearer cool in high temperatures. Naturally, the Nike swoosh adorns the side of the hijab in recognisable fashion. The first release of the style will come in black, grey and obsidian colour-ways, although Nike have hinted there may be brighter colours in the works for future ranges.
This announcement is a great step forward for inclusivity in sport. Hopefully it will serve to raise the profile of hijab-wearing sportswomen across the world and inspire other hijabi women to participate in the activities they are passionate about.