Hoodjabi wants streetwear to be more inclusive

In December 2020, Kady Meite was getting annoyed while trying to film a TikTok. She wanted to show off a new hoodie she’d gotten in the video, but her hijab was getting on her nerves and her makeup was rubbing off.

“I was like, ‘Why isn’t there a simple hoodie that just comes connected with a hijab?'” Meite told In The Know. “[It] would be so easy to slip it on, pull it over your head — life would be so much easier — and just walk out the door.”

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Instead of waiting for such a hoodie to be invented, Meite decided to create the “hoodjab” herself — by launching Hoodjabi in March of 2021. The hoodjab’s headpiece is made out of an elastic-like jersey material that can easily be pulled over the head and adjusted to fit perfectly. The sweatshirt is made out of French Terry and, as of now, comes in five different colors.

The product isn’t limited to women who wear hijabs either, the FAQ section of the Hoodjabi website describes it as “made for, but not restricted to, women who wear hijab.”

“[It’s] a combination of the two things I love the most,” Meite said.

It only took three months to launch Hoodjabi, mostly due to the fact that Meite already had experience running businesses and had some contacts she knew would be willing to help. Her brand’s tagline is, “Where modesty meets streetwear,” because that’s part of why Meite started it in the first place — to normalize seeing women in headscarves.

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“I want to see it being normalized — hijabs being in fashion — why isn’t that a thing?” she said. “I even notice sometimes there’ll be videos on TikTok of just regular girls, but because they’re wearing a headscarf and doing fun things, people are like, ‘Aren’t you Muslim?’ Is it not a normal thing to see a woman in a headscarf having fun? Or dressing up to trend?”

The Hoodjabi TikTok account, which stars and is run by Meite, is flooded with thousands of comments by women who have also struggled to wear a hijabi under their hoods. Many users said they couldn’t believe something like Meite’s hoodjab was never invented before.

“I didn’t know how much I needed this till now,” one woman wrote.

“I’M SO EXCITED YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND,” another added.

As receptive as Hoodjabi’s fans are — both on TikTok and in her store, where the black hoodjab design is already sold out — Meite also feels proud of herself for not second-guessing the idea.

@hoodjabi.co

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“[At first] I thought I was being dramatic. I thought it would be unnecessary,” she said. “I thought that when the first couple of manufacturers told me no.”

As a lover of streetwear, Meite also worried that fans of the Y2K aesthetic wouldn’t want to wear a “modest version” of the trend. But at the same time, she wasn’t seeing anybody who looked like her in advertisements or on Instagram, and that needed to change.

“My brand is going to be what’s missing in the market,” Meite said. “I want to be fully inclusive, like, I want to see kids wear it, I want to see men wear it, I want to see everything.”

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