Rawdah Mohamed, the Somali-Norwegian model whose protest against a proposed ban on the hijab in France went viral, has been announced as editor of the soon-to-be-launched Vogue Scandinavia.
Mohamed will become the first hijab-wearing editor of colour at a fashion magazine in the west.
“Vogue Scandinavia has taken the diversity issue to the next step, meaning creating [a] work environment where people of different backgrounds are being valued,” said Mohamed, whose April Instagram post with “hands off my hijab” written on her hand started a campaign that trended on Twitter, Instagram and TikTok. “We can participate in conversations, take part in decision-making processes and are able to have an influential voice in fashion.”
In an Instagram post announcing her new role, the model wrote: “I’m hoping to be a cultural force with lots of learning, growing and facing the challenges that comes with it.”
Mohamed, who is known for her street style fashion, believes her appointment will have a ripple effect on her community. “It has a huge impact for Muslims, and I see this as [a] collective achievement to better understand the world of fashion,” she said. Diversifying the fashion industry has been a hot topic since the murder of George Floyd last year.
Mohamed said the magazine had hired other minority ethnic people in top-level editorial positions. “This is important as it takes off the societal pressure and the emotional labour of being the only ethnic minority on the team,” she said.
Mohamed does not see her appointment as related to the race controversies that have recently plagued Condé Nast, such as the hiring and then resignation of Alexi McCammond at Teen Vogue earlier this year.
“I don’t perceive myself to be a correction to anything,” Mohamed said. “If I can help the overall industry progress in the process then it is a wonderful addendum that I have always advocated for.”
Vogue Scandinavia will launch its first issue in August. It will publish print editions six times a year but will be largely digitally focused.