Model Ikram Abdi Omar has made fashion history twice: when she appeared on the cover of Vogue Arabia with fellow hijab-wearing models Halima and Amina Aden; and last December she became Burberry’s first headscarf-wearing festive campaign girl. "My dream was to work with Burberry, so when I got confirmed I was so thrilled. The shoot was magical."
Ikram, 23, was studying biomedical science at Bristol University when she was scouted by Premier Model Management, in spring 2018. She moved to London and decided to put her degree on the back burner. “I was finding it hard to juggle the two different worlds and so I decided, I’m going to go for this.”
Ikram, who was born in Sweden and moved to Bristol, aged eight, (her parents moved to Sweden in the 80s during the Somalia civil war), chose to start wearing a hijab when she was 11. "It’s my personal choice and it depends on how you want to dress, how close you are to God and how close you are to the religion as well," she explains.
"Modesty is different for different religions and individuals within them. For me, I’m fine with showing hands, feet, a bit of ankle, neck and the face. Some people cover their neck and would prefer not to show their feet, but for me that’s fine. My mum fully covers, she is modest in her own way."
Ikram discusses positively how modelling is heading in a direction that is more reflective of people you see on the streets and she personally enjoys being a role model: "I like it. Other girls can pick up on some of my styles and they can see what a model and modest dresser in the industry can wear for different occasions."
As far as headscarves go, Ikram has mastered the art of colour coordinating them with outfits. "I literally can’t count how many I own. I have them in red, blue, orange, pink…every time I have an event I buy a new one, because they aren’t expensive and I always want a fresh look.
"I’ve always loved clothes and tried to find new ways of trying something and styling a headscarf with my clothes. My style is constantly changing, as I love to show myself in different ways. The whole thing about fashion is to experiment - don’t just stick to what you are used to."
The full interview appears in the February issue of Hello! Fashion, which is out now.