Can high fashion mix with hijabs?

Anniesa Hasibuan, a Muslim fashion designer based in Indonesia, recently made history during New York Fashion Week by sending a collection down the runway with every model wearing a hijab — a first for New York’s semiannual unveiling of international fashion collections to buyers, the press and the general public.

Models walking runway wearing elaborate hijabs, crowns and gowns (© AP Images)
Designer Anniesa Hasibuan’s evening wear combines luxurious fabrics with graceful silhouettes. (© AP Images)

The collection of 48 outfits featuring colorful tunics, gowns, trousers, suits and kimonos in flowing silks earned Hasibuan a rare standing ovation from New York’s notoriously hard-to-please fashion crowd, according to Elle magazine.

Hasibuan’s successful debut of her 1-year-old label in New York represents a victory not just for her, but for the growing modest-fashion movement. The movement emerged in response to complaints about limited clothing options for style-conscious Muslim women, including some 550 million worldwide who wear hijabs.

And the popularity of modest-fashion blogs underscores Hasibuan’s message that covered-up looks can be as glamorous and sophisticated as other types of clothes. Summer Albarcha, 20, is the author of one such blog.

A college student from St. Louis whose parents emigrated to the U.S. from Syria, Albarcha posts photos of trendy but modest outfits on her blog and Instagram account. Her global Instagram followers now number 314,000, and her Instagram posts have been cited by Marie Claire magazine and the Associated Press.

Models on runway wearing elaborate hijabs and headdresses (© AP Images)
Anniesa Hasibuan offers polished daytime ensembles as well as the dramatic evening looks seen here. (© AP Images)

As for Hasibuan, she says her designs are inspired by her country’s textile traditions and her hometown of Jakarta.

“I want to bring the Indonesian name to the fashion world and use my clothes to introduce people to the different and diverse parts of Indonesia,” she told The Jakarta Post.

Judging by her collection’s enthusiastic reception in New York, Hasibuan is well on her way to expanding the definition of global chic.