Fashion

Vogue France names hijabi model Najma Ahmed as Miss Vogue

By Jade Simon

Najma Ahmed. Photo: Valentin B. Giacobetti

As a Somalian who grew up in Sweden, Najma Ahmed claims her double culture, and has become the first model featured in a hijab in Vogue France. Here we get to know the rising star

As far back as she can remember, 23-year-old Najma has never wanted to look like anyone else. Raised in a Somali family in Landskrona in southern Sweden, she proudly cultivates her dual culture, although “it was sometimes difficult growing up in a small town when you are a black Muslim woman”.

Photo: Valentin B. Giacobetti

I've always liked making looks and I made the choice to wear the hijab alone

Passionate about fashion, she develops her creativity by fashioning outfits, inspired by Alexa Chung's blog or the Olsen sisters. Her parents encourage her, amused to see her stand out on family portraits or at the local high school, proud to wear the hijab while assuming an improbable dress mix and match. “I've always liked making looks and I made the choice to wear the hijab alone. Nobody forced me. My faith is embedded in such a personal part of my life that I find it crazy that strangers can afford to question it and I regret that the hijab is considered a symbol of oppression for a Muslim woman."

Photo: Valentin B. Giacobetti

As a teenager, she discovered Audrey Hepburn on screen in Funny Face and it was a revelation: “One day, I will live in Paris.” In 2019, she went there to study Fashion Marketing at the IFA (International Fashion Academy). She lives in Montmartre and shares her best looks on Instagram and TikTok, gaining a community that is close to 20,000 followers. “It's not a business, I want it to be organic to keep it fun,” she says. "I do it mainly so that Muslim women feel legitimate to be interested in fashion.”

It is also through social networks that we talk to her about this casting. Posing for Vogue France has always been a dream, she analysed Carine Roitfeld's photo series. “My favourite thing about fashion is the duality. I can wear a slip dress and heels one day, a suit and tie the next. My mother pointed out to me that some might question my sexuality. I told her that I didn't care, my fashion icon is David Bowie, I always wanted to be as free as him.'' In the future, she would imagine herself working alongside her favourite fashion houses and designers: Margiela, Vivienne Westwood, Rick Owens, John Galliano … Or even writing: “I have always kept diaries, I love fashion. Becoming an editor would be the combo of my dreams.”

Originally published in Vogue France


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