Photo Credit: Saudi Arabia
Jeddah based, Saudi branding stylist Zahar Al-Sayed, along with her fiancé, Ahmed Angawi, an artist, have launched the Abaya Factory, offering up multifunctional abayas that can be transformed into a different garment entirely.
The abaya is a loose fitting, full-length robe, designed to protect a woman’s modesty and is integral to Saudi culture. However, with the kingdom making groundbreaking moves regarding women rights, and an emerging - and much sought after - fashion, arts and culture scene, the traditional black garment is taking on many forms whilst maintaining its religious purpose and being practical for the modern women of today.
Al Sayed and Angawi came up with their transformable abaya idea as a unique way in which Arab female travelers, who often remove their robes when abroad, no longer have to remove their abaya while travelling. “Our abaya was a solution for people traveling from A to B without really thinking what outfit they have to change into,” she told Arab News.
Inspired by real women, their needs, and empowerment, the Abaya Factory aims to cater to all “women-on-the-go”, those who are working, travelling, and generally multitasking!
The brand pays much attention to the smallest of details; focusing on light, breathable fabrics such as linen and cotton to suit the Middle East’s scorching summers and warm winters. They are also set at a comparatively affordable price point of SR800 ($213) to SR1,800 ($480), which the designers believe is right for the 2-in-1, inimitable styles they offer.
The Abaya Factory uses social media to promote their designs and brand, “people are more exposed through social media, more aware of designing and are really appreciative of homegrown talents,” said Zahar Al Sayed.
Being a forward thinking Saudi Arabian brand, designers Zahar and Ahmed want the women in their transformable garments to feel confident and proud, and hope to develop their existing designs to have more interchangeable functions to suit their customers’ needs, “our future plan is to (have) showroom appointments (with customers) so people can come in and choose the fabrics, colors and create their own garments.”
Currently the brand is stocked at Jeddah’s Homegrown Market, its WhatsApp service, and the Abaya Factory website.