Abaya tendencies in UAE constantly evolving in ‘clash’ among fashion and religious modesty


DUBAI // Emirati lady’s intrinsic choice for change, integration, self-expression and the need to stay updated has transformed the abaya from a utilitarian garment to a “style assertion symbolizing grace, elegance, and charm”.

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That is the belief of researchers from the Lebanese American University in Beirut, who held recognition organizations and interviews with Emirati ladies to take a look at how the “conflict” among cutting-edge traits and traditional spiritual modesty has affected UAE ladies’ style wishes and inspired the evolution of abaya designs.

“The research has proven that a major transformation has taken the region in the perception of fashion and, for this reason, abayas,” said Dr. Zahy Ramadan, who co-authored the have a look at in conjunction with Dr. Mona Mrad.

“Given the changes in the needs and wants of Emirati clients, knowledge of this marketplace is of utmost significance for both teachers and marketing practitioners from a style perspective.”


Dr. Ramadan stated the UAE is the most important u. S . After Saudi Arabia in phrases of Muslim garb consumption and that, in step with a current report via Thomson Reuters, the Islamic fashion market is expected to be well worth US$484 billion (Dh1.04 trillion) by 2019.

“The UAE market became in particular chosen for this look as it is planning to turn out to be the center of Islamic fashion,” said Dr. Ramadan.

The look at, Fashionable Stereotypes and Evolving Trends within the United Arab Emirates was published in the May edition of the magazine Customer Needs and Solutions.

“A set of favor motivators emerged from the look at describing Emirati girls’ need for change, integration, self-expression, and want to stay updated that this paper grouped under what we coined the ‘style motivator moment of truth’,” said Dr. Ramadan.

Emirati abaya designer Alia bin Omar could not agree extra with the examiner’s findings. Since the 27-12 months-vintage launched her Dubai-based label, Darya, she has witnessed the evolving traits.

“Before, we used to wear most effective black, but about two years ago, the girls commenced sporting beige, white, gray colors,” stated Ms bin Omair. Fabrics additionally advanced from silk or polyester to linen or even wool throughout the iciness months.

“My mum used to only put on the equal cloth for years – the same material. Even my aunt and everybody that I understand using the equal fabric. I feel it is better to exchange a chunk and use different fabrics.”

As the researchers noted in their findings, the modern-day patterns do now not tend to “undermine the abayas’ local and conventional appearance, which UAE fashion designers nonetheless don’t forget a symbol of recognizing and way of life that girls within the UAE must maintain”.

For Fatma Al-Mosa, the 38-year-old clothier and proprietor of Folk Couture in Abu Dhabi, the abaya’s cultural roots and function inside the UAE society will always be No 1 in guiding styles and cuts.

“This is our precedence; it’s miles our faith, it’s far our lifestyle. For the Gulf Arabian ladies, it is a part of their identity and faith that they need to wear abayas. This is how they had been recognized,” stated Ms. Al Mosa. “But on the equal time nowadays, we don’t simply put on it for non-secular reasons, it’s far turning into for extremely stylish as properly.”

So an awful lot so, that for the beyond two years, a growing number of expatriates have grown to become to Ms. Al Mosa to purchase the modern-day abayas – broadly speaking of the coloured and linen range, she stated.

“They experience it is very realistic and something that they prefer to experience, even of their countries,” stated Ms. Al Mosa. “I think it’s very promising. For us, the abaya is part of our lifestyle, a part of our identity, and I suppose it’s far a pleasure for each person while someone non-Arab buys a chunk and that they locate it very high-quality and comfy and they like to have it, and they need to put it on even abroad.”

Dr. Haifa Al Anjari, founding faculty member and assistant professor of fashion layout at the College of Fashion and Design Dubai, stated the abaya had come to a protracted manner from its utilitarian origins as a way of modesty and safety from the climate. Early abayas had been black and manufactured from goat hair, said Dr. Al Anjari.

Jeanna Davila
Writer. Gamer. Pop culture fanatic. Troublemaker. Beer buff. Internet aficionado. Reader. Explorer. Set new standards for getting my feet wet with country music for farmers. Spent college summers lecturing about saliva in Libya. Won several awards for buying and selling barbie dolls in Prescott, AZ. Spent a year implementing Yugos in West Palm Beach, FL. Spent several months creating marketing channels for cigarettes in Deltona, FL. Spent 2001-2004 developing carnival rides in New York, NY.