American Eagle is known for keeping teenager’s closets stocked with denim. This year, the retail giant widened its demographic by offering a denim hijab amidst countless pairs of distressed mom jeans and high rise jeggings. The landmark move sparked countless Tweets and articles that praised the choice and speculated its sales potential.
Less than two weeks later, it’s sold out.
The hijab was worn in campaign ads by Muslim model Halima Aden, a former Miss Minnesota contestant who became the first hijabi signed to IMG Models earlier this year. Since then, Aden has racked up an impressive pedigree, walking for Yeezy Season 5, Max Mara, Â and Alberta Ferretti.
In an interview with Refinery29 earlier this year, the 19-year-old spoke about the need for better representation in fashion. “To be honest, I never really thought I had a place in the world of fashion,” Aden said. “I didn’t grow up seeing women dressed like or who looked like me in magazines or on television or [on] advertising billboards.” Now, her presence in campaigns and on runways is helping change the fashion world that once alienated her.
According to News Times, the $20 online-only hijab sold out in just over a week, and is currently unavailable for purchase on American Eagle’s website. The sales success of the item, though, supports evidence that Muslim women make up an underserved consumer base with significant spending potential. Islam is expected to be America’s second largest religion by 2050, and while not all Muslim women choose to wear the hijab, Muslim women and girls remain a growing retail niche, Retail Dive reports. As Nike prepares to release the Nike Pro Hijab early next year, there is hope that other retailers will follow suit.
Shopping at stores like American Eagle and Nike is a cultural experience many American teenagers share, and offering culturally inclusive clothing allows more people to participate. Additionally, showing hijabis in mainstream ad campaigns helps reduce the stigma many Muslims face. On that level, American Eagle’s denim headscarf has been a major success â€” billboards featuring Aden’s face are currently covering Times Square.