Designer Hana Tajima is known for bringing hijabs to Uniqlo in 2016, but she doesn’t want you to think that only religious women can wear her clothes. In light of her next collection for the retailer, which dropped today, Tajima is reaffirming her long-held belief that the collection is for everyone. Yes, the clothes will keep you covered, but instead of labels like “Muslim fashion” or “modest fashion,” Tajima prefers “understated.”
The New York–based, London-born designer Tajima told the Cut, “That term [modest fashion] doesn’t rub me the right way. It feels like there’s something implied — some kind of value being placed on someone’s ideals,” she said. “I like the idea of understated fashion. It feels like it fits closer to where it actually is. But it started with Muslim fashion.”
Tajima has been ahead of the curve for a while now. Since she started designing for Uniqlo, Muslim fashion has become increasingly visible in mainstream brands and media. Nike has started selling hijabs, and models wearing hijabs have graced the cover of British Vogue and Allure. At the same time, modest fashion without a religious component has become trendy. New York Times critic Vanessa Friedman called it a defining trend of 2010s, brands like Rachel Comey and The Row are critical darlings, and Net-a-Porter has a dedicated “modest” section on their website (alphabetically listed right under Lingerie). Tajima has always said that her clothes are for all women, but 2018 seems like an especially good time to drop the labels, as “understated” dressing becomes more popular among those who dress foremost for style or comfort rather than faith.
Inspired by transitions and fluidity, Tajima formulated a fall collection of wearable tunics, coats, and pants with an easy elegance. It’s also her first time designing a coat for Uniqlo, which she is particularly excited about. “What I really want is for people to drop their preconceptions of what the collection might mean. If it’s seen as modest fashion, that puts up a wall for some people,” she said. “In one way, it’s really useful to have that identifier. It’s not like I want to downplay the roots of it being Muslim fashion. But I design from being a human first.” See more of the collection below.