Opinion:

Nike’s first ever sports hijab is here and it’s a big leap in supporting diversity

Ushnota Paul, March 7, 2018

It’s a celebration of different women and their choices

Nike is one brand that has always pushed the envelope when it comes to creating a strong statement and impactful ad campaigns. The latest product from Nike’s stable is a lightweight and breathable hijab for Muslim athletes to wear while competing. Going with the tag line “Sports is for everyone,” the Nike’s Pro Hijab campaign features American Olympic fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad, Emirati figure skater Zahra Lari and German boxer Zeina Nassar.

A quick look at the campaign and the first thought is, well, the product itself is fantastic. Nike, as usual, is being inclusive and sensitive to specific choices and preferences of people. They’re respecting a woman’s choice to cover their body, but at the same time making sure it is empowering and enhancing them and not being an inconvenience. When a conservative Muslim woman chooses to wear a hijab out of her own volition, even while playing a sport, then it’s her choice. And it’s great that Nike as a brand is recognising the need in the market and catering to all kind of women and respecting their individual choices.

Designers apparently worked on the hijab for months and asked professional Muslim athletes to test it out while competing. It’s now available in select Nike stores around the world and Muslim athletes are definitely rejoicing. They’ve mentioned that it’s convenient and helps in bettering their performance. The product is a breath of fresh air for athletes who do not wish to perform without wearing a hijab. It can be argued that, why bring religion into sports at all? In an ideal world, a Muslim athlete would wear sports gear just like any other athlete – something that is comfortable and appropriate for that sport. But we don’t live in an ideal world. So, if some women feel the need to wear a hijab out of their own choice, then this product is definitely a step in the right direction for them. It’ll make their lives much easier and improve their performance.

At the end of the day, Nike is a big brand that looks at profitability and so tries to find out what its consumers want all around the globe. There must have been a dearth of modest sportswear in the market, which is why Nike has jumped at the opportunity and come up with this product. Nike’s Pro Hijab shows that as a brand, it has an intention to help all kind of consumers and respect their choices. This definitely looks like a step in the right direction when it comes to celebrating diversity and needs.