Growing up, Muslim fashion blogger Hassanah El-Yacoubi rarely saw Muslim girls like her represented in major American fashion brands. El-Yacoubi told The Huffington Post that this lack of representation in mainstream fashion campaigns creates an “identity complex” for young American Muslims. Many Muslim teens are balancing the challenges of teenage life with the added stress of having their identity as Americans questioned, and even being bullied because of their faith.
That’s why it was especially heartening for the blogger to see Justice, an Ohio-based retail company, reach out to young American Muslims in their latest marketing campaign.
Justice focuses exclusively on fashion for “tween” girls between the ages of 7 and 14. In a recent update to the company’s merchandise catalog, the company chose to include a young model wearing a bright blue hijab.
El-Yacoubi called Justice’s decision to include a young person in a hijab in its marketing campaign a “leap forward.”
“I honestly teared up when I saw the ad because it’s a celebration of what it means to be different and shows that difference is what makes us beautiful,” El-Yacoubi told The Huffington Post in an email. “It will help the youth cultivate a confident and stronger sense of self at such a young age. By seeing themselves represented throughout mainstream markets it will provide a feeling of belonging, something many of us wished we had growing up.”
Keriake Lucas, vice president of corporate communications for Justice, told The Huffington Post that the photo was part of a marketing campaign for January and February called “See Yourself In Justice.”
Lucas said the campaign was meant to showcase the diversity of the young girls that Justice hopes to reach. The updated catalog coincides with the release of new extended sizes.
“We’re looking at ways of continuing with our message around inclusivity,” she said. “We’re really proud to project to our girl that we are really dedicated to every girl, every day.”
Justice is part of the Ascena Retail Group Inc, which also manages brands like Dressbarn, Loft, and Lane Bryant. Justice has over 900 stores located in the United States, Canada, Russia and the Middle East.
Lucas said that this particular marketing campaign will also be featured in stores.
“Now that I am a mother of a baby girl, I want her to be confident in her faith yet proud to be American. When Justice includes a young girl wearing hijab, it shows inclusivity to all young girls from different backgrounds,” Siddiqui wrote in an email. “America’s beauty comes from the diversity of its people. This encourages young American Muslims to be confident in their faith.”