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Junon
05-16-2011, 02:53 PM
Salaam

Always amusing the lengths the BBC will go to promote the 'modern' face of Islam.

Reinventing the Saudi abaya

When a woman is seen in public in Saudi Arabia, her body must be covered by a long flowing garment, an abaya. Traditionally these are plain black - but at least one designer has other ideas. One of the first things that women coming to Saudi Arabia have to do is go abaya shopping. The abaya is the long, black cloak that all women have to wear by law when out in public. It's different from the burka, which is also widely worn, as it leaves the face and hair uncovered.

Abayas have been around for thousands of years. Bedouin tribes wore them for protection from the harsh weather conditions in the desert. Now though, they are associated with religion, and are worn by Muslim women to protect themselves not from the weather, but from the eyes of men.

Many foreign women living in Saudi find abayas uninspiring and cumbersome. The trailing material, designed to cover the ankles, has a tendency to get caught in doors and trolleys - an ambassador's wife told me she'd broken her toe twice tripping over it. They can also be very hot. At the height of summer, temperatures in Saudi reach about 50C, so a long, dark robe is the last thing you feel like putting on.

But change may be coming.

At the exclusive shop run by designer Eman Al-Mandeel, I was taken aback by flashes of colour and exotic fabrics. Her abayas fully cover the body, but anonymous black cloaks they are not. Quietly, over the past few years, an abaya evolution has been under way thanks to Eman and others.

A talented painter, Eman began making her vibrant gowns 12 years ago when living in Dubai. There, as in some other parts of the Gulf, it's not unusual for women to wear navy blue or brown abayas, and her ideas fell on fertile ground. Eman started wearing her own designs, and after a while people started asking her to make abayas for them.

Moving to Riyadh, one of Saudi Arabia's most conservative cities, it was far from clear whether there would be a market for her work. Here, black abayas with little or no embellishment are still the norm - but against the odds, Eman's creations have won lots of fans. Many Saudi VIPs wear them - they are some of the few that can afford them. The average price is £250 ($400), and some designs sell for as much as three times that.

Religious police

Eman creates each one using bright fabrics she finds on her travels - silks from India, ribbons from the United States and lace from Dubai. Eman now sells on average 55 abayas a month from her Riyadh shop. She invites her customers to choose from her materials, then creates a design that fits their style.

But there are stories of the religious police, the Muttawa, confiscating colourful abayas. Is she worried about them coming into her shop, and telling her off for making her designs too eye-catching? "Well, my shop is women only," she laughs. "So they cannot come in."

Then, she quickly and earnestly points out that she has no issue with the religious police. She respects their job and is aware of what is appropriate attire for Saudi women. Eman believes she is not doing anything wrong by creating colourful clothes, she's just bringing the traditional abaya up to date.

Only two?

"All generations have worn abayas," she says. "We see how our mothers and grandmothers wear them. "And each generation, we want to improve the style to fit with the times, while still remaining respectful to our culture. "I want my abayas to be an extension of a woman's personality. They don't have to go away from their purpose to do that."

Many of her designs feature colours against a dark background - and sometimes the colours are very bright. "You have different outfits for different occasions," she says. "I would wear a bright one for a party and a less showy one for shopping. "You see my abaya is what I want to show off to other women. I have more than 30."

I only have two, I tell her. She looks at me as though I'm deprived. Eman wants more Saudi women to adopt colourful abayas as a statement of their identity.
"You can not change a country in one or two years," she says thoughtfully. "But each year I can see Saudis getting that little bit more accepting… My aim is to make Saudi women look like individual members of society."

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-13372186
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CosmicPathos
05-16-2011, 03:09 PM
lol... emaan is a clown
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Nayab
05-16-2011, 03:21 PM
colorful glittering abayas!!!
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aadil77
05-16-2011, 03:23 PM
thought the thread title was: reinventing saudi arabia
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S_87
05-16-2011, 03:39 PM
hmmm i love glitzy colourful things but abayas like this totally defeats the purpose :-\
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Haya emaan
05-16-2011, 04:03 PM
you dont need to wear abaya's with silks from India, ribbons from the United States and lace from Dubai. just do that with your cloths and they will be fine... y to waste money on abaya not fulfiling its purpose...
wear it properly or leave it..

colorful abayas really looks funny to me...
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Rhubarb Tart
05-16-2011, 04:08 PM
:sl:

But why does it always have to be black in these countries? The men wear white which is bright and the women wear black in hot country!!
We are allowed to wear other colours not too colourful with patterns. It doesn’t have to be black.
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ardianto
05-16-2011, 04:12 PM
Originally Posted by sweet106
:sl:

But why does it always have to be black in these countries? The men wear white which is bright and the women wear black in hot country!!
We are allowed to wear other colours not too colourful with patterns. It doesn’t have to be black.
:sl:

Some Muslimah in Indonesia wear abaya, but not always black although always in dark colored such as dark brown or dark green.
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Haya emaan
05-16-2011, 04:14 PM
walaikum assalam..
i think black is just a tradition.. its not necessary to wear only black.. but the color should not be the attractive one that it ruins its purpose
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GuestFellow
05-16-2011, 04:47 PM
Originally Posted by sweet106
:sl:
But why does it always have to be black in these countries?
:wa:

It is black so it's not see-through. If a women wants to wear an abaya with glitter, fine, go ahead.
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CosmicPathos
05-16-2011, 04:49 PM
Originally Posted by sweet106
:sl:

But why does it always have to be black in these countries? The men wear white which is bright and the women wear black in hot country!!
We are allowed to wear other colours not too colourful with patterns. It doesn’t have to be black.
yea, you can start wearing "baby blue" colored abaya, for all we care.

good luck.

hmmm,

it'd be interesting to see pink abayas on the roads in saudi. or dare I say orange colored!
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GuestFellow
05-16-2011, 04:52 PM
^ Salaam,



^ Like this? :/
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CosmicPathos
05-16-2011, 04:53 PM
Originally Posted by Guestfellow
^ Salaam,



^ Like this? :/
ws alam

you are quick lol
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Ğħαrєєвαħ
05-16-2011, 05:02 PM
Assalaamu Alaaykum

The abaya can be worn in any colour as long as its not to attention seeking i.e having patterns, glitters etc etc..

Its not part of the sunnah to wear black for women and white for men as far as i am aware as long its lose clothing, long, not see through and not attention seeking, etc and modest! hopefully you get the point insha'Allaah

so even if it was black with glitter, like many have mentioned it is defeating the whole purpous of wearing the clothing itself..

Originally Posted by sweet106

But why does it always have to be black in these countries? The men wear white which is bright and the women wear black in hot country!!
We are allowed to wear other colours not too colourful with patterns. It doesn’t have to be black.
Wa Alaaykum As'salaam

It doesnt have to be black, its just common, as long as its plain and not attention seeking then it is fine insha'Allaah.



.. peace ..
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Rhubarb Tart
05-16-2011, 05:02 PM
Originally Posted by Guestfellow
:wa:

It is black so it's not see-through. If a women wants to wear an abaya with glitter, fine, go ahead.
What? The person should wear thicker material if they don’t want it to be see- through. Why do the blokes wear white then?

Try wearing black trouser in hot weather and sit at the pavement for at least 2 mins. See what I am talking about.
The colour black is not appropriate in hot weather.
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Ğħαrєєвαħ
05-16-2011, 05:06 PM
Originally Posted by sweet106
What? The person should wear thicker material if they don’t want it to be see- through. Why do the blokes wear white then?

Try wearing black trouser in hot weather and sit at the pavement for at least 2 mins. See what I am talking about.
The colour black is not appropriate in hot weather.
It doesnt matter what colour you wear as long its not see through, so if it is see through one would wear something underneath so then it is not see through insha'Allaah
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Rhubarb Tart
05-16-2011, 05:06 PM
Originally Posted by mad_scientist
yea, you can start wearing "baby blue" colored abaya, for all we care.

good luck.

hmmm,

it'd be interesting to see pink abayas on the roads in saudi. or dare I say orange colored!

Women wear that colour in Afghanistan actually. Nah, thanks for your suggestion but blue is too bright for me. I tend to go for brown, grey, dark green. I also do wear black but not in the summer.
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CosmicPathos
05-16-2011, 05:11 PM
Originally Posted by sweet106
Women wear that colour in Afghanistan actually. Nah, thanks for your suggestion but blue is too bright for me. I tend to go for brown, grey, dark green. I also do wear black but not in the summer.
kewl...............
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GuestFellow
05-16-2011, 05:24 PM
Originally Posted by sweet106
Why do the blokes wear white then?
Salaam,

I'm not sure. :/

Try wearing black trouser in hot weather and sit at the pavement for at least 2 mins. See what I am talking about.
Why would I do that?
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Rhubarb Tart
05-16-2011, 05:36 PM
^To see how quickly the heat gets to you.
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GuestFellow
05-16-2011, 05:43 PM
^ Salaam,

I don't see the point of doing that...I prefer to remain cool when it's hot.
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Reflections
05-16-2011, 06:38 PM
Funky abayahs...yay...something else the kuffar can copy from us soon..step aside fashion police..this is THE new 'in'...less modesty and more groovy(:shade:)...might as well wear long evening dresses..they're like the same and can cost less than these 'abayahs' <_<
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Nayab
05-16-2011, 09:34 PM
Originally Posted by Bint Abi
might as well wear long evening dresses..they're like the same and can cost less than these 'abayahs'
may be this is what the west is actually trying to do... gradual change. initially blend and than change...


and black is too hot in summer! i did saw white and skin abayas in market as well, but they don't serve the purpose.
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piXie
05-17-2011, 09:14 AM
This seems like an inspiration from the shaytaan. Allaahul Musta'aan.
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S_87
05-17-2011, 12:50 PM
Originally Posted by sweet106
:sl:

But why does it always have to be black in these countries? The men wear white which is bright and the women wear black in hot country!!
We are allowed to wear other colours not too colourful with patterns. It doesn’t have to be black.
:W:

cultural really, plus black rocks :p and goes with everything. but other colours are good too. though not white. tooooo see through:hiding:
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