The athleisure space has become a multi-billion dollar industry, with women now opting for comfortable apparel items that have both style and function.
One demographic they’ve largely ignored: the Muslim market. Athletic companies avoid traditional headscarves, or hijabs, which are used for religious purposes and choices of modesty.
But when people exercise with headscarves, they can become soaked with sweat, just like the rest of our workout clothes. Besides perspiration, scarves need to withstand the elements, such as rain or heat.
Enter Veil Garments, the first line of performance-geared hijabs attempting to fill that void.
“I was thinking that there was so much incorporated technology with performance clothing. Why hasn’t anyone done this for the hijab,” says the brand’s founder Ahmad Ghanem.
“These women need it more than any of the athletes who have clothing for them readily available. They’re the ones who are wearing these rain or shine, in heat or under rainy conditions.”
After a year and a half of researching various fabrics and manufacturers, the 22-year old from Cleveland, Ohio launched his brand on Kickstarter with a goal of reaching $5,000. Within three days, he’s raised almost twice as much as his initial goal.
The hijab replaces traditional fabrics like silks, chiffons and cottons and opts for nylon, which readily wicks away sweat and is almost fully waterproof.
“It’s a great fabric and is quicker to dry,” he says. “It’s great for a work out and very, very comfortable.”
Ghanem hopes the brand goes international, to comfort women in his parents’ native Palestine where desert temperatures can rise well past 100 degrees. “Hopefully this will help them out in an impactful way.”
Not only is this an opportunity for social change, Ghanem sees this as a real business.
“There are a billion Muslims around the world,” he says. “And the population is only getting bigger. There’s real potential for big sales. I don’t know why no other sports brand has done this before.”