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Islamic Clothing Fashion Abaya For Fashionable Modest Women

By Elena McDowell

The Islamic clothing fashion Abaya styles are modernizing slowly with enterprising Emerati designers taking the lead. Their colorful and vibrant new take on the traditionally, simple black garment is even inspiring some change in Saudi Arabia.

Abayas are similar to burqas, but, they are not the same garment under another name. Burqas are of South Asian origin. They cover the whole body in a single piece of material. In Burqas, netting reveals the eyes. Abayas do not cover the head. By adding headscarves and face covering additional coverage can bring this garb closer to a burqa level of coverage. Niqabs worn as a head gear can be made from plastic or cloth.

Abayas are a common cultural feature of Gulf countries. For Emirate women black has been the main color for a long time. In other countries, other colors are also used. A distinctive eye can tell the origin of its wearers simply by looking at what they are wearing. Its roots lie in regional Bedouin culture. Its original form was made from one piece of fabric and extended from to toe. Today, it can be made of several panels of fabric. The socioeconomic status of a wearer is revealed by differences in fabrics and quality of decorative details.

Evolution in Emirati style is a natural development of exposure to foreigners. Emirate natives reside in an international center and participate in foreign travel. This exposure provides fertile soil for local talents eager to try new things. Bringing a contemporary touch to customary clothing is a natural complement for customers accustomed to living in a modern era. The design variations remain true to local culture and religious norms. With the absence of a religious police, local customers have more freedom to wear different styles in public places.

It was not long ago that Gulf natives only felt comfortable revealing their fashion sense at family gatherings or gender specific parties. In public, when not traveling abroad, the standard color remained the accepted norm. But today, the new designers are bringing a new spirit to this traditional garment. Different fabric, designs and embellishments are giving a new twist to tradition by offering Gulf women a variety of styles to choose from. Fashionable changes are also drawing increasing South Asian women to exchange this fashionable change from their customary Burqas.

Changes are also coming to conservative Saudi Arabia. Saudi fashion designer Eman Al-Mandeel is one of several adventurous faces. She was inspired by living in Dubai and is leading evolution of traditional wear at home. Colorful additions, different fabrics and decorations are allowing Saudi women to display their individuality. They are replacing the formal anonymity of traditional black, at least in private.

But, in Riyadh, the traditional colored garment without embellishment is still a norm. If there is some decorative element in these garments it is subdued. The religious police, the Muttawa, have been known to confiscate colorful Abayas. The color and fashion revolution has more potential behind closed doors. In privacy, modern tweaks allow Saudi women to display their fashion sense and personality through their attire.

Creative talents are introducing changes that respect tradition but also reflect modernity in their designs. They are expanding the possibilities by creating a broad range of styles to be worn on diverse occasions. Some of them are even bold enough to experiment with innovative material like bamboo. A fresh spirit is infusing Islamic clothing fashion Abaya garments.

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