Writer: Teiko Nartey – Khama
In the face of this pandemic, people all over the world are finding ways of not only helping their neighbors out but to also show appreciation in any way possible to health workers who are on the front line of the pandemic and more likely to contract the disease. Joining the “appreciation train” is Somali American fashion model Halima Aden.
Miss Aden, who partnered with a new startup which was meant to launch this summer but have had to put its plans on hold due to the pandemic – Anywear, which is an Artificial Intelligence tech company founded by Emily Shippee, a Managing Editor at Teen Vogue and Adi – Lee Cohen who works with the Israeli army, consulted with hairstylists, a dermatologist and nail artists to create a comfortable pain free masks for front line workers. Speaking to the business insider, Shippee said “With the main pillar and values being centered on “inclusiveness”, it was a no brainer to collaborate with Halima who used to be a hospital worker herself.
The products are made from organic fabrics, and they are machine washable and reusable. They come in seven different colors. For every set sold, another will be donated to hospitals in need. When asked of the reason behind the collaboration, Halima said “As many women are working at healthcare facilities, I wanted to make sure they have a comfortable option for every mask while keeping their hair covered. It can also get hot running around at the pace healthcare employees are right now, so a breathable fabric was a must”.
Aden who became the first woman to wear a hijab on a pageantry platform, contested for The Miss USA Minnesota pageant in 2016. That jump – started her modeling career after been signed by IMG models three months after the show. Since then she has been the first hijab – wearing model to grace the covers of magazines such as Ciara fashion book,Vogue Arabia, British Vogue, Allure, and debuted at Milan Fashion week all in 2017. Last year, she catapulted to again, being the first hijab – wearing model to wear a hijab and burkini, a full body swimsuit in Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit edition.
She added on why she took this initiate, saying, ” like everyone, my livelihood has been turned upside down. I just keep reminding myself of something that my mom always says: ‘hard times don’t last, but strong people do’.