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'Hijarbie' Barbie creator of doll's fashionable hijabs, abayas: 'I saw a gap'

One young woman gave Barbie her own makeover by creating fashionable head scarves and modest clothing for the iconic doll.
/ Source: TODAY

Long before Mattel released its Barbie with more realistic body shapes, Haneefah Adam was already giving the iconic doll a makeover to better reflect her own fashion and lifestyle choices.

Instead of miniskirts and hot pants, Adam’s Barbie sported equally fashionable, but far more modest, tunics and full-length dresses or cloaks. And she always wore a hijab to wrap her long blonde hair.

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“The idea occurred to me after I felt it would be nice to have a doll in my own image, covered up,” Adam said of her creation, Hijarbie, who has her own Instagram account showcasing “mini hijab fashion.”

The 24-year-old Adam, who lives in Nigeria, said she initially started the account as an outlet for her creativity.

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“I hope by updating the page, I'm able to inspire the Muslim girl child and the world at large and hopefully make a positive impact,” she told TODAY by email.

When Adam posted her first picture nearly two months ago, she didn't know Mattel had plans to introduce a new line of Barbie dolls featuring curvy, tall and petite shapes. The new dolls were intended to present a more realistic representation of women while also providing a lift to sagging retail sales.

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"It did cross my mind after I started mine if it will be possible to see a more diverse collection of play things," she said. "I saw a gap and created Hijarbie to fill that up and provide for the kids that will want them."

Adam, who designed and sewed all the items featured on the dolls, said she plans to sell her creations in the near future. "We're working on it," she said.

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Last month, Dolce & Gabbana introduced a line a of hijabs and abayas, joining a growing number of designers and retailers trying to meet a demand from Muslim women seeking more shopping options for the head scarves and full-length cloaks traditionally worn in their faith.

Adam, who is preparing to launch a lifestyle brand called Hanie, said the response she's received has been “amazing.”

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“It's a hit with a lot of parents and older girls (who) wish they had it to play with when they were kids,” she said. “Hijarbie is a style star in her own right.”

Follow writer Eun Kyung Kim on Twitter.