Nike is set to launch an all-new line especially for Muslim female athletes which it calls “Nike Pro-Hijab”.
The introduction of the “Pro-Hijab” comes at a time when diversity has become a major issue in the fashion industry across the world.
Nike’s new hijab line has a single-layer pull-on design which is made of lightweight polyester. There are tiny holes in the hijab which allows the wearer to breathe while it remains opaque, a requirement for women who wear the hijab.
NIKE, the company behind the new innovation said the hijab was developed after several female Muslim athletes registered their struggles in using a traditional head scarf for competitions. It also revealed that design took 13 months and will be available on a mass-market scale in early 2018.
Emirati figure skater, Zahra Lari, triathlete Manal Rostom and Olympic weightlifter Amna Al Haddad are part of a select few athletes to wear the prototype of the pro-Hijab.
Zahra in a statement said she was emotional to see the prototype and was blown away by the fit and the light weight.
“I was thrilled and a bit emotional to see Nike prototyping a Hijab. I’ve tried so many different hijabs for performance, and … so few of them actually work for me. But once I put it on and took it for a spin on the ice, I was blown away by the fit and the light weight.” She said.
Nike’s announcement has sparked a major debate among Muslim women across the world. Some athletes have accused Nike of capitalising on the political atmosphere that has engulfed the United States through Donald Trump’s infamous ban on Muslim and other parts of Europe.
"They feel like it's really cool right now to have to advertise about equality and diversity,” Rahaf Khatib, the first hijab woman to cover a U.S. fitness magazine told Bleacher Report. "Part of me thinks they're just trying to cash in."
Nike is not the first company to create a professional veil for Muslim woman but it is, however, the largest company to create an outfit of this nature.