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Muslim Girls with a Love for Sports Design ‘Culturally Appropriate Uniforms’ so They Can Play in Comfort



G.I.R.L.S. University of Minnesota College of Design Muslim Uniforms - BellaNaija - July2015005

Their will to get what they wanted is admirable.

In 2008, a female-only organization named the Girls Initiative in Recreation and Leisurely Sports (G.I.R.L.S) was created to give young Muslim girls in Minnesota and female-only avenue to play sports and be active. The group was started by Somali-American Muslim woman, Fatimah Hussein and Chelsey Thul to help these girls do what they love most – sports.

After a while, the girls realized that they would only have the full experience of playing sports if they had clothes that enabled them do so as young Muslim girls; and unfortunately there weren’t many options available that still gave room for their values.

According to Chelsea, “The girls for years have been telling us, ‘we would like clothing. we would like clothing’“. So after a while, in 2013, the middle-school girls decided to take matters into their own hands and ensure they got what they wanted. They teamed up with Hussein and the University of Minnesota to design and create culturally appropriate uniforms that gave them exactly what they wanted – playing sports with comfort.

G.I.R.L.S. University of Minnesota College of Design Muslim Uniforms - BellaNaija - July2015

To get the right inspiration for the pieces, the girls attended several sporting events to study the movements of the female athletes. They ended up designing a couple of fun, colourful and stylish pieces.

Check out a few photos from the unveil last month;

G.I.R.L.S. University of Minnesota College of Design Muslim Uniforms - BellaNaija - July2015006 G.I.R.L.S. University of Minnesota College of Design Muslim Uniforms - BellaNaija - July2015001 G.I.R.L.S. University of Minnesota College of Design Muslim Uniforms - BellaNaija - July2015002 G.I.R.L.S. University of Minnesota College of Design Muslim Uniforms - BellaNaija - July2015003 G.I.R.L.S. University of Minnesota College of Design Muslim Uniforms - BellaNaija - July2015004

Great job ladies! To see more images from their unveil visit their Facebook page HERE.

Photo Credit: University of Minnesota College of Design (Facebook)

Jennifer is the Beauty Editor & Style Representative of Get in touch - Send an email to: beauty(at) or style(at) | Follow us on Instagram: @bellanaijabeauty OR @bellanaijastyle | Follow us on Twitter: @bellanaijastyle


  1. sheedah

    July 8, 2015 at 8:13 pm this. Good initiative and keep it up

  2. bruno FIERCE

    July 8, 2015 at 8:20 pm

    dear muslims why do u people subject ur women into covering their hair and bodiea from head to toe.
    men don’t cover their bodies from head to toe.

    don’t tell me “because a woman body is tempting” a man’s body is also tempting too.

    • Concerned

      July 8, 2015 at 9:59 pm

      Quite frankly I don’t think my answer will make a difference to you but to those who might care…….

      The best answer really is because our lord instructs us and we obey Him because He knows best. You don’t have to understand it but those who submit to Islam are ok with it and are not complaining so don’t drink Panadol for someone else who does not even have a headache. To each their own.

      It is the belligerent heart that has the arrogance of wanting to know it all even when they never will no matter how smart they think they are.

      Women are treasures in Islam and treasures are not sitting exposed to be grabbed or groped at. You keep your most precious items secure and hidden. Those who practice it correctly and not oppressively will tell you its a beautiful thing.

      From a shallow but objective perspective, the body form of a man is not as alluring as that of a female, no no breasts or hips….but that is besides the point.

      Once upon a time, men ran around naked, then cave men covered sparingly with leaves. Decent dressing should be looked upon as progressive. The more nude u are the more you are like a cave man.

      Welldone ladies!

    • bruno FIERCE

      July 9, 2015 at 8:45 am

      ” Women are treasures in Islam ”

      u are joking right?

      pls I will drink panadol for all people who are getting oppressed because of an old out dated religion.

      I will drink panadol for all the women who have acid thrown in their faces because they decided to get an education

      I will drink panadol for all the women who have to wake up feeling ashamed of their bodies because of their religion says its ugly.

      and by the way, a man’s body is just as alluring as a woman’s.
      facial hair
      biceps etc all these things are alluring. ladies pls tell them oh

      (read my comment properly, this is what feminism is, not insulting men. bellanaija angry ladies, pls take note, bashing men is not feminism)

    • Damilola's

      July 9, 2015 at 12:37 pm


      Women are treasures? Is that why they are restricted and stripped off so many priviledges and opportunities. Is that why they are treated like nothing among their men where the men can be married to as many but don’t care for her feelings and being cherished. Is that why they are not allowed to advance themselves. What happened to the treasure part when these men also kill women and children. And, young girls are given away to some old men to take away their innocence and mess them up forever. Shouldn’t respect, be part of the treasures. M ost Muslim women don’t like it, they just do it bcos it’s been enforced and are in fear that Allah will punish them if they don’t. Most of these Muslim girls, when they get a chance, they toss that hijab as far as they can. And some wear it now to make a fashion statement. Islam is a religion of bondage.

    • Concerned

      July 9, 2015 at 11:38 pm

      You guys are just speaking from bias and lack of understanding. Every issue you have stated is not as a result of Islam but as a result of people and the way they behave and spoil things.

      Women are abused by men of all faiths. Catholic priests have been accused of molestation, pastors have been accused of corruption. Nigerians have been accused of being fraud sters. Only people of little knowledge will attribute people’s actions to their religion or tribe or creed.

      Humans can ruin any institution based in their very own inherently evil nature. Period. Only a smart and objective mind can see through that.

    • Concerned

      July 10, 2015 at 6:24 am

      Bruno Fiece Just to educate you further of your misinformed bias before you misinform others.

      The hero who wants to drink Panadol……………Please drink the Panadol for the evil doers on the planet and not Islam.

      FYI a woman from this so called outdated religion named Fatima Al Fihri started the oldest university in the world , University of Karaouine in Morocco. Men attended and still attend this university.

      If it was Islam that instructs the notorious things some so called Muslims do today many woman would be walking around with acid on their faces.

      My relative who is a doctor in Saudi Arabia reports to a female doctor who is the director of that hospital unit. My America trained female friend is a professor of engineering in that same country and her face is intact- no acid.

      Drink Panadol for the anorexic models who starve themselves to appeal to western standards of beauty and the men who exploit their bodies to make money for themselves.

      Drink Panadol for the many faceless abused women that don’t make CNN that are being battered by their husbands on a regular basis and are not even muslim.

      Many who wear hijab are very happy and will tell you its not about what is on their head but what’s in their head. You cannot define an entire religion by the action of some crazy people. That’s discrimination.

      Show some integrity by making fair judgement. Live and let live.

    • mommar

      July 10, 2015 at 12:35 pm

      Women are treasures in Islam and treasures are not sitting exposed to be grabbed or groped at. You keep your most precious items secure and hidden. Those who practice it correctly and not oppressively will tell you its a beautiful thing.

      I think you’re missing the point here.

      I dont think it is oppressive or regressive for a woman to “cover up”. But i also dont think any woman should be forced to cover up or infact any human being (who is legally an adult) to be forced to do something that they do not want to do.

      What we are arguing about here is not a mattrr of whether covering up is right or wrong. What we are arguing about is an issue of giving people a choice.

      Islamic states across the world have a terrible track record concerning human freedoms and rights. I do not agree with the oppression that is practiced in these countries in the name of god. This is because to me being a part of a religion is choosing to dedicate your life to service of god. It is not something that can be forced on you. It is a choice you make for yourself.

      So forcing a woman to cover in the name of god to me will always and forever be wrong. If she wants to cover up it is a choice she should come to by herself.

      Ps: if you think “covering up” isnt being forcibly enforced on women try wearing so called inappropriate clothing (like knee lenght skirts for example) in islamic states like saudi or even the UAE.

      PPS: on your statement about keeping your greatest treasures hidden. You call it love yet all i see is oppression. I think you should find the proper definitions of love and cherish in the dictionary. Love and the absence of choice can never coexist. The difference between love and abuse is the absence of choice

      Ppps: women are treasures in so many world cultures and religions. It is not only islam. The rest of the world however does not abuse them by removing their freedom to choose.

      Pppps: your statement sounds as if you are endorsing sexual harassement and abuse of women who arent “covered up”. That is just sick.

    • Concerned

      July 10, 2015 at 5:50 pm

      @ mommar, there are many people of different faiths that do things wrongly on a regular basis. Even we everyday people. No one is validating that those things are right.
      Likewise, forcing anyone to do what they are uncomfortable with is wrong. However I insist that the concept behind it is beautiful wether u agree or not. You only express yourself within your own understanding and comfort, that’s fine with me.

      However, look on the flip side. Look at how westernized culture dictates how women should dress. How some muslim women in certain corporate sector are forced to not wear the hijab which makes them uncomfortable. You are only saying this because your default standard is not the hijab so to you its abnormal and forceful.

      In islamic countries, many women look at skirts the way you look at hijab because to them its weird to expose their legs.

      You cannot compete for a beauty pageant if u don’t strip to a bikini or swim suit. So does that mean by definition my beauty is incomplete if I’m not found to have the perfect figure? It’s all a mind set and a lot of it is hypocritical.

      I agree with you that oppression and compulsion are wrong. But you can’t generalize, judge and accuse Islam of it when it’s a human flaw that transcends all religions, races and tribes.

      Afterall, there are dress codes in the western world too….school uniforms, black and white for lawyers etc back in boarding school they even told us what shoes to wear. But when Oyinbo man dictates, it is fashion, it is cute, it is culture.

      Was it our African fore fathers that invented the suit and tie?…..FYI the concept of the tie is to keep away the cold. Don’t we wear it in the hot sun in Nigeria .? We are all subconscious stuges. We have grown to accept these also because its popular and majority so it appears as a default standard. No one except the likes of Fela Kuti ever said Why?

      Life is diverse. It’s not one way or the highway. Live and let live.

    • Aj

      July 8, 2015 at 11:59 pm

      Why is that you are shallow minded in the way that you think and that you only look for negatives?

    • Uh?

      July 9, 2015 at 3:56 am

      Dear bruno fierce why does it bother you? Is it your head and body that is being covered?

  3. polypoly

    July 8, 2015 at 8:31 pm

    great initiative but not practical for all sports. goodluck wearing that dress to compete in track & field. na last position guaranteed. In physics there is something called drag, and that’s an athletes nightmare. NIke, Puma, Reebok, etc have poured billions into improving athletic gear so its not in the way of the sportsmen and women.

    goodluck ladies but I don’t see this going anywhere. they are not the first and wont be the last. Falilat Ogunkoya was one o the first Nike Athletes to wear the full cover all gear. she never went fast after that.

    • Optimist

      July 9, 2015 at 12:45 am

      Well polypoly , I guess they will have to work harder to overcome the drag and besides like you already said technological advancements occur daily so maybe as soon as someone identifies this issue it’s something new to work on and make some money off a new market.

      In life, the road to success occurs in stages. No need to doom and gloom their situation. They are only trying to uphold their beliefs and not hurting anyone.

      Kenyans have a high altitude advantage of hemoglobin that gives them a natural resilience over everyone else. That’s why they win most marathons yet it doesn’t dissuade others from competing with them. Welldone ladies for adding diversity and culture to the world of sports.

      Hopefully whatever antagonism they face will increase their fighting spirit to win.

  4. may

    July 8, 2015 at 8:56 pm

    very 9c

  5. Anon

    July 8, 2015 at 9:18 pm

    Kudos to these young and talented ladies!!! I’m a firm believer of where there is a will, there is a way. This has inspired me.

  6. Go girls

    July 8, 2015 at 9:31 pm

    Toh let the comments roll. All those afraid and beefing Muslims will open their big mouths now.

    This is a nice concept. Kudos girls!

  7. jwezee

    July 8, 2015 at 9:37 pm

    Hahahaha this is laughable. ..good luck with that girls…#Next!!!!!

  8. Corolla

    July 8, 2015 at 9:52 pm

    Sigh! Religion+patriarchy+Bondage.

  9. Aminah

    July 8, 2015 at 9:54 pm

    Nice! Me likey

  10. Fabulous B

    July 8, 2015 at 9:54 pm

    Very nice. Very thoughtful. Go girls!

  11. EllesarisEllendil

    July 8, 2015 at 10:00 pm

    Considering they are 1 billion+ Muslims and growing, this venture=$$$$

  12. Hamsuf

    July 8, 2015 at 10:35 pm

    It’s an injunction in the Holy Qur’an and ours is not to question but to obey.

    • bruno FIERCE

      July 9, 2015 at 8:48 am

      who wrote the holy quran u are quoting.

      pls give us facts and evidence not fiction.

  13. Phoenix

    July 8, 2015 at 10:43 pm

    Dear Muslim sisters with a love for sports.
    What happened to the hadith that says a woman’s clothing should not be tight fitting and should not reveal the shape? And where do you guys think this is gonna lead you all to.p? Verily, all innovations leads astray. /please retrace your steps/.

  14. hmm

    July 8, 2015 at 11:17 pm

    I can foresee so many heat strokes cases……religion defies or is it defiles common sense.


    July 9, 2015 at 12:04 am

    I feel like this is Trying to TRICK God in some way.

    Either follow the Rules that YOU CHOSE to follow or Don’t.

    This just seems forced attempts to go around things. lol


  16. nunulicious

    July 9, 2015 at 12:11 am

    I clicked on the link to get the full view of the red and black outfit as the teaser looked good…only to be disappointed.
    Y’all need to try harder, oil and water don’t mix

  17. Cute me

    July 9, 2015 at 12:56 am

    Who cares, just who?

  18. liby

    July 9, 2015 at 4:05 am

    [email protected] fierce we cover up like this bcos mother mary is our role model…she used to cover up too did u ever question her why???? or is it only a question for muslim women?

    • Errr

      July 9, 2015 at 9:12 am

      Please, Mother Mary has nothing to do with you Muslim women, it’s even weird that you are alluding to an artist’s impression of what Mary was/wore. And FYI the wardrobe of women from that time was more determined by the weather and not moral inclination. Scores of women from back then were prostitutes who “covered up”. The things that happen under burkhas though…

    • red

      July 9, 2015 at 12:35 pm

      @liby, which mother mary? and how do you know she used to dress that way?

  19. KhalDrogo

    July 9, 2015 at 8:42 am

    Seriously….y’all need to chill,its not that serious…especially the Islam activists.
    To be honest this outfits look kinda impractical….drag,heat,comfort etc but as long as they are happy and feel some sort of fulfillment and happiness.
    But on a much more sincere note…this outfits are inappropriate and look hideous for most sports like soccer,basketball and boxing (like seriously…how do you wear this to box) cos most professional and competitive bodies regulate the dress-code of the athletes,except y’all don’t plan on competing in which case i don’t see the use of this…but I wish you all luck and hope you break grounds wt your other research works but in my opinion this isn’t good enough….much more work is needed.Good luck and stay blessed

  20. Errr

    July 9, 2015 at 9:07 am

    This is not practical. The funniest photo is the one where the girls wore boxing gloves with their hijabs hanging out. That’s dangerous to the athlete! Apart from the drag, you could get caught by something. Just imagined running a 100m hurdle in one of these.. All that extra clothing will probably get you tumbling over several hurdles. Please, if you want to be allowed to participate in international sporting events, kindly follow the rules. I am sure allah wouldn’t mind you following the laws of the men he created on;y for sport’s sake. Your safety is important too.

  21. Pebbles_GH

    July 9, 2015 at 9:29 am

    umm @liby buno is not a christian. if u observe he says our books are fairy tales so … no point asking him about “Mother Mary”

  22. whoever

    July 9, 2015 at 11:05 am

    nice design and innovation, it will get better with time.
    I’m Christian brother…….
    To you concerned about Muslim ladies covering their body here is a question: “why won’t you buy a chocolate whose wrapper is torn?” or why do manufacturing companies write “don’t buy if seal is broken” on their products!
    food for thought : Hidden things have great value! for example diamonds, gold etc are found way down the earth surface, so is crude oil, alot of minerals too.
    Lost Values account for the increase in carnality and crime against women and their Body(which is a great inestimable Treasure)…………

    • Evab

      July 9, 2015 at 2:54 pm

      So i guess men have no value right? since they don’t have to hide any part of their body according to your logic.
      Why is water also not hidden somewhere, since its the only thing we humans cant live without for up to a week and its value cannot be denied by anyone.

    • comment

      July 10, 2015 at 12:27 pm

      Evab, of course men have value but women are noted as the more vulnerable gender in every society just like children are also considered vulnerable. Hence, it only makes sense to treat them more preciously.

      Besides FYI there is also dress etiquette too for men in Islam. How come no one complains about the numerous Muslim men in turbans and Thobes? I hear no one saying Sanusi Lamido the Emir of Kano is in bondage with his outfit. Lol……I beg let’s stop expecting everyone to live according to our own standards and embrace diversity.

    • comment

      July 10, 2015 at 12:30 pm

      Evab water is not hidden but you will still pick bottled water over the water that is sitting out open and exposed to germs…smart ass lol!

    • comment

      July 10, 2015 at 12:48 pm

      As a matter of fact, water is hidden in some places…where there is drought. In the places where water isn’t hidden or more readily available you find that there is waste and it is taken for granted. When u have to go and fetch your water you will value it and hide it well. So u see the logic still holds doesn’t it ?

    • charis

      July 9, 2015 at 5:12 pm

      I’m glad you said this. So men according to you have no value!!! Great.

    • KhalDrogo

      July 20, 2015 at 4:53 am

      that’s a very stupid analogy,if seal is broken?…seriously?,WOW!!!!!! what exactly is the abeg? virginity?, clothing? what? bro u need to actually think sometimes before u type stuff…i dnt even know if ur comment is rude(u comparing the women to products in the market),if u r trying yo be stupid or if u r just plain ignorant and senseless

  23. red

    July 9, 2015 at 12:34 pm

    hehheehehehehehe orisirisi

  24. dearestzee

    July 9, 2015 at 4:41 pm

    Nice outfit,keep it up,may Allah be with us all,amin.Islam is a beautiful religion,little do they know

  25. Paloma

    July 9, 2015 at 5:19 pm

    chai! some peeps will just comment without thinking deep!

  26. jade

    July 9, 2015 at 7:41 pm

    wow, here’s to the division. These are children people not highly paid nike designers… please let them live. Na wha oh!!! they are being ingenuitive. Give them a break. To my muslimah sisters, cheers to you. Freedom of religion rules. Freedom being the operative word. Not forced. There is good and bad in all religions, y not focus on the good for a change.

  27. Lt.Daniel

    July 10, 2015 at 2:00 am

    huh… make ona argue wel wel…. dem dey dia dey do dia tin… ishhh

  28. zafwaan Ahmed mohammad

    July 12, 2015 at 9:40 am

    masha allah my allah keeo you and bless all of you

  29. meelikey

    July 13, 2015 at 8:48 am


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