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Nike’s sports hijab tells us that giant brands might (finally) have the guts

Nike announced that they will launch a specially-designed hijab in spring 2018. The initiative is another proof that major sports brands ”dare” to push opinons in what earlier was considered as ”taboo” areas for commercial giants. But notice, it took them 17 (!) years to copy the sports hijab.

According to Nike, the Pro Hajib was inspired by Sarah Attar, the runner from Saudi Arabia who competed in the London Olympics 800-meter race (while wearing a hijab).

Zahra Lari, the United Arab Emirates’ first international figure skater, said on Instagram she is “super excited” to be involved in the launch campaign and is already wearing the hijab on the ice.

“When I go to competitions, people usually have a lot of questions about it because they’ve just never seen anyone like that,” Lari said. “But it’s just that they’re curious about it. They’ll be staring and they’ll come and they’ll ask me. They want pictures with me or something like that. I think it’s a good way to spread the word, like, ‘We’re normal. There’s nothing different between me and you.’”, Lari described to Washington Post last summer.

However, I think it’s worth a note that the sports hijab is not a new invention (which Nike never states, but you might think).

For 17 years ago, in 2001, Cindy van den Bremen created the first sports hijab and founded Capsters, which has been selling them since then.

”Capsters introduced the first sport hijab in 2001, co-designed with Muslim athletes. We have been knocking on doors of sport federations to lift hijab bans and have been sharing stories of role models since. It has taken a long time for the mainstream brands to take notice, but it finally happened!”, the brand says on Facebook.

It’s easy to say that Nike is the copy-cat, but on the other side, the company have the muscles to make a ”real” impact. And I’m the first in line to cred Nike for the initiative, as long as it’s for real and not a one-off. Just do it.

// Magnus Berglund

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