Nike has just announced it will release the “Pro Hijab,” to be available in 2018. The brand worked with two top athletes on development, Zahra Lari (the UAE champion figure skater oft touted as “Ice Princess”) and Amna Al Haddad (a female weightlifter from the UAE).
There have been mixed reactions to Nike’s product and video, both positive and negative. Much backlash across social media has ensued, with reactions streaming from mild discontent to full protests to boycott.
Al Haddad has been vocal about the product and explanation behind the development.
With the Nike Pro Hijab Launch, I do realize there is a lot of mixed reactions as to why Nike decided to create such a product “now.” __ From my perspective as a former athlete who competed in Hijab, in the past, the big brands didn’t see the need or market for it as it was not “popular” and it was unheard of to see women train, exercise and compete in hijab. __ It is a recent phenomenon where more women have expressed a need for it and more professional athletes have fought for rights to compete with a headscarf, and have an equal playing field. We made it big in the news, we couldn’t be ignored. __ As Muslim women, we have been vocal in the media about it – personally since 2011 – the big guys can’t help but notice us “the underdogs” and our impact in the sports industry and world. They know that we are here to stay and decided to join the party and create another “competitive” sport hijab in the market, which by the way, did exist in the market for few years now. __ As an innovative company, they will create products and they will meet market needs – whatever they may be. It is not dismissing any other hard work done in the past to develop sports hijabs, it’s just there is more competition in the market for modest clothing now. __ I support Muslim women with or without hijab, and how they dress is their choice. And with the Nike Sports Hijab, it surely will encourage a new generation of athletes to pursue sports professionally, and without us athletes who fought for this right and made it happen, Nike wouldn’t “just do it.” __ Ps. This is purely my opinion on the matter, not paid for or asked to be written. Much Love, -Amna
Lari posted an announcement to her Instagram account.
Can’t believe this is finally here!! I’m super super excited to announce the Nike Pro hijab !! So proud to be part of this incredible journey 💪🏼 #nikewomen #girlpower #Repost @vivienneballa with @repostapp ・・・ New Nike ‘Pro Hijab’ campaign out today. Featuring Zahra Lari 🖤 _____________ #nike #nikewomen #campaign #prohijab #hijab #justdoit _____________ 📸: @viviennesballa
Photographer Vivienne Balla shared the below images.
This image features Lari on ice.
Here Manal Rostom models the hijab.
Coinciding with the release is a video featuring five accomplished Arab female athletes and professionals.
إيش حيقولوا عنك؟— Nike Middle East (@NikeMiddleEast) February 18, 2017
يمكن يقولوا إنك تخطيتي كل التوقعات.
Utilizing the hashtag #believeinmore, Nike posted the video to their Instagram account of 69.9 Million and Twitter of 6.81 Million followers, featuring a trainer (Amal Mourad), a boxer (Arifa Bseiso of Jordan), figure skater (Zahra Lari), and a fencer (Ines Boubakri, an Olympic medalist from Tunisia), and a singer (Balqees Fathi of Saudi Arabia) with a message encouraging women to defy limitations, break stereotypes, and strive for success.