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Eman Joharjy Creates Abayas That Better Suit The Lifestyle Of Today’s Saudi Arabian Woman

Eman Joharjy

Following the lifted ban on female drivers in Saudi Arabia, businesses are popping up or expanding in order to cater to the increasingly active and mobile lifestyle of today’s Saudi woman. Saudi designer Eman Joharjy understands this and has been working on creating abayas that allow women to be more dynamic. The young designer has created colorful, embroidered jumpsuit abayas that stand out amongst the similar loose-fitting full-length robes usually worn by Saudi women.

According to Al-Arabiya English, the idea for her modern abayas started in 2007. Back then, Joharjy found herself frustrated by a lack of abayas made for running or cycling and so decided to design one for herself. She began making them for friends and selling what she dubbed the “sporty abaya.” Her designs could not have been timelier as the Kingdom continues to work on encouraging its population, particularly women, to be more active and engage in more sports.

“Women feel encouraged by the government support. They are telling them, ‘You can go run and play sports.’ But let’s change from a sedentary society to a more active one,” explained the designer to the news site.

After creating her line of sporty abayas, Joharjy continued to experiment further, creating different designs such as the driving abaya, which features a hoodie, tight elbows to prevent the sleeves from catching on the steering wheel, and shorter lengths to make switching pedals easier. Her creations are not only ingenious, they are all colorful, shunning the quintessential black of traditional abayas.

“They reflect freedom and the willingness to embrace life and make it easy for the modern woman,” she said. “Besides, women love colour […] She is optimistic that Saudi Arabia’s strict social rules will ease further. But she still believes that many women will continue to wear the abaya in one form or another.”

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