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Nike Pro Hijab Among 2017 Design of the Year Winners

Design News

Nike Pro Hijab on boxer Zeina Nassar

Nike's Pro Hijab, designed for Muslim athletes, modeled by German boxer Zeina Nassar.    .

F or the last 10 years, London's Design Museum has been drawing attention to notable modern design achievements of the previous calendar year with its Beazley Design Awards—a juried selection of significant new objects and innovations, spanning 6 categories. Among the 2017 winners, announced last week, was Nike's Pro Hijab, a stylish head covering for Muslim athletes, which was the standout in the Fashion category, besting, among other nominees, the pink 'pussyhat' that came to symbolize female outrage over the election of Donald Trump.

Calling it "A performance hijab by Nike that could change the face of sport for Muslim women," the Design Museum selected the Pro Hijab as one of its 6 Designs of the Year, joining winning designs in the fields of architecture, digital design, graphic design, product design and transport. Commented Amanda Levete, of the London architectural firm AL_A, and one of the Beazley Design Awards judges, “The first time I saw this project it stopped me in my tracks. It is a piece of design that tackles an important issue in a simple and elegant way. Perfectly delivered with inclusion at its core.”

Nike unveiled it's Pro Hijab in March 2017—two days before National Women's Day—to rapturous reviews from both the fashion and athletic communities. Inspired by the American-born runner Sarah Attar, one of two women who competed for Saudi Arabia at the 2012 Olympics, Nike collaborated with a group of Muslim women athletes on a final design which yielded a strikingly attractive, modern athletic accessory that still managed to meet stringent requirements for modesty and performance.

In trademark Nike fashion, the Pro Hijab is an ingeniously simple design, trading in a traditional hijab's more voluminous shape for an elegant pull-on piece, fashioned from Nike's stretchy Pro power mesh fabric. By leveraging Nike's "most breathable fabric" and adding thoughtful details—elastic binding that allows for a personalized fit, an elongated back that keeps the hijab from coming untucked, a color palette limited to dark neutrals—the Pro Hijab presents Muslim athletes with an athletic wear alternative never before addressed by a major sports brand. That, of course, was Nike's aim: "By providing Muslim athletes with the most groundbreaking products, like the Nike Pro Hijab, Nike aims to serve today’s pioneers as well as inspire even more women and girls in the region who still face barriers and limited access to sport..."

“The first time I saw this project it stopped me in my tracks. It is a piece of design that tackles an important issue in a simple and elegant way. Perfectly delivered with inclusion at its core.”

Nike Pro Hijab

The pull-on Nike Pro Hijab is made from Nike's lightweight, breathable Pro power mesh.

Nike Pro Hijab, back view

Longer in the back, the Nike Pro Hijab has been so designed to keep from coming untucked during competition.