There are hijabs for court and then there are comfortable hijabs for court. London-based junior barrister Maryam Mir found that the latter was exceptionally hard to come by, as regards suitable attire for court. So she joined hands with colleague Karlia Lykourgou to design and launch a line of headcovers for clothing options that are both inclusive and professionally suited.
Mir and Lykourgou are both criminal barristers practicing at Doughty Street Chambers, London. The two have known each other a long time since 2016 and now, outside of the courtroom, share a common interest in hijabs for court.
“To keep encouraging diversity at the Bar we have to make sure those who don’t fit the white, male stereotype have the tools they need.”
Their joint apparel efforts are housed under the Ivy & Normanton label, a first-of-its-kind clothing brand for women lawyers launched by Lykourgou last year.
Hijabs For Court Pave The Way For Inclusive, Professional Clothing For Women
As per Doughty Street Chambers, the gulf in the hijab market where options for the courtroom were not exclusively available in London, was noticed by Mir, a Muslim woman. Buying a hijab doesn’t just depend on the look, she felt, but also on the texture, durability, thickness and other factors of convenience.
“It seemed ridiculous to me that Maryam, as a busy and brilliant barrister, should lose any time trying to find something as simple as a hijab for court that’s the right size, shape, colour and texture,” her friend Lykourgou was quoted saying.
The two women then, with help from another senior Sana Waheed, helmed a project for the I&N label that would launch hijabs for court from March 31, 2021. The women have settled on bamboo silk texture that will be most comfortable for hijabi lawyers across seasons.
2020 also witnessed its first hijabi judge take charge in the United Kingdom. Raffia Arshad, a Muslim woman, was appointed the deputy district judge for Midlands in May. “It’s taken a while to get here but I’m so pleased. It’s not just a personal achievement. It’s a huge achievement for anyone from a diverse background,” she had said. More stories on hijab-wearing women breaking barriers here.