Lamya Abedin, a well-known designer from UAE is keen on making the abaya which is a simple, loose over-garment, essentially a robe-like dress, worn by some women in parts of the Muslim world including in North Africa and the Arabian Peninsula to be an essential fixture in every woman’s wardrobe – not just in the Arab world, but around the globe.
Abayas are meant to be completely black, but the designer would like to do the opposite by infusing shades of mustard, navy blue and brown into her creations. Blending fabric from wool, leather, cotton, linen and silk adds to the exclusivity of her line.
A large number of women love to wear the modern abaya that looks like a coat. So it needs to keep them warm in winter and want something light in summer. It’s important to introduce new shapes and textiles so that a piece doesn’t die in the wardrobe.
The founder of the couture line the Queen of Spades already sells her clothes in South Africa, her first venture outside the GCC.
The popularity of her designs comes from the abaya doubling as a trendy jacket, wrap or trench coat when worn overseas.
As every lady has that black dress, a pair of jeans, high heels, flats that you must have. The same is being tried with the abaya. Regardless of nationality or religion it can become a robe, a kimono, a coat, a wrap around, it has so many names.
Customers from France, Switzerland, America, India, Brunei and Turkey have visited her website to purchase one-of-a-kind pieces sometimes inspired by the Japanese kimono or the Malaysian batik interwoven with vibrant colours.
Living for more than a decade in countries across the Middle East, Africa, Europe and Asia with her husband exposed the self-taught designer to local weaves which she incorporates into her design.
Lamya began designing for herself while living in Saudi Arabia and then created garments for relatives and friends. Her first taste of selling her creations came five years ago when she was invited to sell alongside international brands at the Galeries Lafayette in Dubai Mall. Her business has since expanded to bridal wear, dresses and a collection for young girls.
Charity is also important, with part of the sale proceeds going to social groups. She recently donated more than 20 abayas to a charity fashion event “Designs of Hope”.
All funds went to the UAE Water Aid initiative this year and the previous year’s proceeds were donated to Dubai’s Al Noor Centre.
She was the first designer who supported when the Dubai Ladies Club came up with the idea of designers donating a minimum of 20 abayas for a cause, said Lamia Khan, director of the Dubai Ladies Club.
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