Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 20 September 2020

Saudi designer tells of French newspaper's 'discrimination' over hijab image

Jewellery designer Princess Nourah Al Faisal has a flagship store in the heart of Paris's design district

Saudi jewellery designer, Princess Nourah Al Faisal, left, and some of her Nuun designs. 
Saudi jewellery designer, Princess Nourah Al Faisal, left, and some of her Nuun designs. 

Saudi Arabian jewellery designer Princess Nourah Al Faisal has called out French newspaper Les Echos for the “shocking discrimination” she suffered when, she says, it refused to feature her work unless she posed for a photo without her hijab.

The founder of fine jewellery brand Nuun took to her Instagram account to share what happened when Les Echos requested images of her to feature alongside her work, only for them to be rejected and her coverage pulled.

Discrimination is insidious and ingrained in many institutions all over the world and we must expose it wherever we find it

"Nuun was approached by Les Echos and asked to submit images of some of my work for an article on jewellers," she wrote.

"They also requested an image of me, which we supplied.

"This morning we were sent a message through the co-ordinating PR agency explaining that the images shared didn’t conform to the images of other designers and that unless we were prepared to share an image without a hijab they would not be using Nuun jewels in their article.”

The National has contacted Les Echos for comment.

France, which is home to the largest Muslim minority in Western Europe, controversially banned the wearing of the hijab and other “conspicuous” religious symbols in its schools and for public servants at their place of work, in 2004. In 2011, it banned the wearing of the niqab in public.

With her flagship store in the heart of Paris’s chic design district on Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honore – alongside Chanel, Cartier and Hermes – Princess Nourah began her design career as an apprentice in France. “Over the years I have come to consider my friends and the people I work with in France as family,” she said.

“I am not surprised that this sort of overt discrimination exists in the world, but from a supposedly liberal media outlet it is shocking.

Princess Nourah said that although she found the "best policy is to work hard" and let her success speak for itself, she felt she couldn't let this incident pass.

“As a Muslim woman I am proud of my religion and my culture," she said. "I have always tried to represent my culture to the best of my ability. Discrimination is insidious and ingrained in many institutions all over the world and we must expose it wherever we find it.

The Instagram post showing the headshots she said were shared with the publication:

Updated: September 14, 2020 06:41 PM

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