Wearing the abaya, a black cloak used by women in the Gulf, is a sign of modesty and respect in the local culture. But it can also be a fashion statement, thanks to a new generation of abaya designers and young consumers who want to look stylish while preserving traditions.
In Saudi Arabia, the latest trends in abaya fashion are named after the two most popular social networks: Twitter and Facebook.
According to Okaz daily, abaya designers try to give such names to their creations in the hope that consumers would be attracted to them, even if the prices are higher than usual. The price of a new abaya can range widely between $32 to $400. Eid al-Fitr, the holiday following the holy month of Ramadan, is considered high season for shoppers in the Kingdom.
“Clever designers can take advantage of the season and new technology to make more money,” shoppers told the newspaper.
Black is the traditional color of the abaya, but colorful abayas have recently begun to appear on the streets of some Saudi cities like Jeddah.
Ahmad al-Jibril, an owner of a factory for manufacturing abayas, told Okaz that most women still prefer to wear the abaya in black.
“Colorful abayas come from abroad,” he said. “Only expatriate women like them.”