The first issue of the Vogue Arabia magazine was released last week featuring half-Palestinian, half Dutch-American model Gigi Hadid, wearing a crystal-embellished hijab on the cover.
In the current political climate, diversity amongst the fashion industry has become a hot topic amongst the media and the public. Last Month, following a public backlash, model Karlie Kloss made a formal apology for her appearance in a geisha-themed photo shoot for Vogue’s diversity issue. Now, with the release of this latest Vogue Arabia cover, the debate has arisen as to whether Gigi’s wearing of the hijab is appropriate due to her family ancestry, or if it is cultural appropriation. On Twitter, Gigi was slammed for wearing the hijab as a “fashion statement”, with one user enraged saying “women are shamed for it, yet she can parade around the cover of Vogue.” Other members of the public, however, have rallied behind the 21-year-old model, arguing that she grew up in a Muslim household with a Palestinian father, and is, therefore, expressing an aspect of her cultural heritage.
Whichever side of the debate the pendulum swings, the significance of Vogue Arabia’s creation cannot be extinguished. Appointed as editor in chief, Saudi Princess Deena Alijuhani Abdulaziz eloquently expressed this milestone in her statement that “the collage of countries across the Arab world are long-deserving of a place in fashion history.” As for her opinion on Gigi Hadid, the princess’ position was clear. “There’s no better first ‘face’ to lead the charge for Vogue Arabia than Gigi, a model who defines tomorrow’s entrepreneurial and dynamic generation.”
Take a look below and tell us what you think: