Unveiling of New "Unisex" Hijab Sparks Backlash

The United Colors of Benetton released a poorly timed fashion innovation headwear called the unisex hijab. The headwear was launched during the Milan Fashion Week in September, under the United Colors of Ghali capsule collection, the fashion company’s collaboration project with rapper Ghali Amdouni.

A month after the headwear was launched, the Council of Europe’s Hijab (COE) campaign was sacked by netizens online, prompting the COE to half its campaign. The COE’s campaign also received a tremendous backlash in France.

Now, the risky fashion innovation is meeting a similar fate. With online backlash gaining traction online, one Twitter user said the headwear is helpful for men to” cover their shame.” “No need for them to be walking around immodest and naked like animals,” the tweet added.

According to the fashion company’s website, the unisex hijab belongs to the collection that Ghali designed. The unisex hijab is part of the United Colors of Ghali collection, which promotes multiculturism and integration. The collaboration with Ghali aims to promote “creativity and dialogue with the new generation.”

Ghali Amdouni, an Italian rapper born in Milan with Tunisian parents, said the United Colors of Benetton was fine with him adding the unisex hijab to his collection. “There was no resistance from the company,” the rapper said. 

Ghali defended the unisex hijab saying it represents the diversity in Europe as much as he is culturally diverse. He said, “when I was little, my mother was afraid that I would go out with my Arab companions; she preferred that I have Italian friends.” “Now, I think it is important to say that this diversity is an added value,” Ghali added.

“I am tired of hearing how everything Arab or Tunisian is associated with something negative,” he added.

The DailyMail reported that even an MEP for a Spanish political party, Podemos chimed in on the controversial unisex hijab, calling it a “frivolity.”

Other Tweets were more unforgiving; one woman tweeted that she was left “crying of laughter and desperation.”

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