Copenhagen-Danish designer Reza Etamadi used the runway to make a political statement at Copenhagen Fashion Week.
The fashion show for his streetwear label’s latest collection MUF10 featured models in burkas and niqabs alongside police officers. It took place just days after Denmark’s full-face veil ban came into effect.
“I have a duty to support all women’s freedom of speech and freedom of thought,” Iranian-born Reza said in a statement. “In Iran, where I was born, women fight to freely choose what to wear. In Denmark, where I grew up… women were free to choose how dressed or covered they wanted to dress.”
The Danish law banning face veils doesn’t specifically name burkas and niqabs, but says “anyone who wears a garment that hides the face in public will be punished with a fine”.
Humans Rights Watch labelled the ban as “discriminatory” and the law has caused several protests and criticism.
“I have no unanimous attitude toward the ban in general but I have a principle,” Reza added in his statement about the show. “No man should decide what women should wear.”
Last week a 28-year-old woman was the first person to be charged with wearing a full-face veil in public. Full or partial bans are also in place across Europe, including France, Austria and Bulgaria.
The catwalk showcased models dressed as police officers handing flowers to women in traditional Islamic clothing.