By Lina Goelzer
Just last week, 28 year old designer Anniesa Hasibuan made history, presenting her spring collection on models outfitted in hijab at New York Fashion Week. She was also the first Indonesian designer to officially show at NYFW.1
Hasibuan’s 48-look collection, inspired by her hometown of Jakarta, was filled with flowy pants, dresses, suits, and jackets accented with shimmery satin, bright colors, embellishments, and traditional Indonesian jacquard fabric.2
Anniesa Hasibuan’s show was groundbreaking, impacting not only Indonesians but Muslim women around the world, especially considering the controversy surrounding Islamic fashion and a woman’s choice to wear hijab. Just this past year British retailer Marks & Spencer was accused of bowing to “extremists” when the company started providing swimwear options for hijabi Muslim women. With armed officals forcing them to undress, Muslim women enjoying themselves on French beaches have also been targets. Adding to this dialogue, Pierre Berge, the co-founder of Yves St. Laurent, commented that “rather than covering women up, we must teach [Muslim] women to revolt, to take their clothes off, to learn to live like most of the women in the rest of the world”. 3
Until now, Muslim women have been conspicuously excluded from the Western and male-driven dialogue regarding their choice of dress. By showcasing her design talent on a Western stage with an international audience, Anniesa Hasibuan has broken new ground, and done so in style. Her collection was a crowd-pleaser, eliciting a rare standing ovation from the NYFW audience.