If you’re still mourning about Socality Barbie’s withdrawal from social media, well look no further. Started just seven weeks ago, Hijarbie’s Instagram account is still fairly young — but the forty posts on it have already attracted more than 9,000 followers.
Behind the account is Haneefah Adam, a 24-year-old Nigerian woman who is also in the midst of launching a modest lifestyle brand. She was inspired to create Hijarbie after seeing the success of Barbie Style’s Instagram account. “It got me thinking about how I’d actually like to see a doll dressed up like I would have—covered up,” she told Mic in an interview. “I was mulling about the idea for about three months while I was still studying for my master’s degree in the UK. When I got back to Nigeria, I went to the mall, purchased a doll, dressed it up, documented it and here we are.”
Here we are, indeed. Adam sews all of the hijabs and abayas herself, taking inspiration from popular Muslim fashion bloggers, like Habiba Da Silva and Leena Asad. And her message goes hand-in-hand with the last week’s news of Barbie’s three new body types. Kids today are diverse. They’re not all tall, thin, blonde, and high-heel wearing. So, why should their dolls be?
One thing you might notice fairly quickly is that Adam uses a standard blue-eyed white-skinned Barbie to model her hijabs and abayas. She addressed the diversity question in her most recent Instagram post today: “The simple truth is, I couldn’t find the Different types in Nigeria (no Amazon or eBay or anything, lol), I’d have loved to dress up a black doll myself, too,” she wrote. “I’ve ordered for some internationally and they’ll soon be here…I basically started with what I had.”
Adam’s aim for her account goes beyond showcasing cute, modest fashion. She wants to inspire Muslim girls who may feel self-conscious about the outward expression of their religion.
“It’s important to create a sense of value in the Muslim child, especially the girl child. They become more confident, more driven, they believe more in themselves, which leads to an appreciation of herself and her modest lifestyle and upbringing. Instead of dressing up her dolls in clothes she wouldn’t wear, hijabifying it will create a sense of belonging and hopefully make a positive impact.”
We’re excited to see where Adam’s account goes, especially once she gets the new shipment of diverse Barbies in.