What Does an Abaya Designer Do?

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  • Written By: Lainie Petersen
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 06 March 2020
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An abaya designer designs abayas, robe-like garments typically worn by women living in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states. As part of the process of designing different types of abayas, an abaya designer must create a design suitable for the bodies of those who will wear the abaya as well as create patterns and choose appropriate fabrics and embellishments. If the designer is creating abayas for mass-market distribution, he or she must work with manufacturers to ensure that the abaya can be produced and sold in a cost-effective manner. On the other hand, a designer who create custom-made garments will typically work with individual clients to create abayas that suit their needs and tastes.

Women typically wear abayas over their street clothes when in public or in the presence of men who are not close relatives. Some very conservative women may wear simple black abayas, although other styles and designs are available. For example, more than one abaya designer creates couture abayas for well-off customers. In addition, there is a market for wedding abayas as well. The primary concerns of a designer often depend on the types of abayas that he or she specializes in and the demands of the manufacturers for whom he or she works.


In some countries, wearing an abaya may be legally required of all women, and these women may be subject to arrest or harassment if their abaya does not provide enough coverage. An abaya designer must take these restrictions into consideration when creating the garment, as it is important that the garment function well in both assisting a woman in meeting modesty codes while also allowing her enough freedom of movement to accomplish daily tasks. Another consideration of an abaya designer includes the fabrics. While the fabric should not be sheer and should be thick enough to conceal a woman's shape, it should also provide ventilation so that women are not overcome with heat while wearing the garment.

For some abaya designers, considerations of modesty and functionality may not be as important as creating innovative and attractive garments. Some forward-thinking designers are now incorporating different ethnic clothing styles into their garments and are using interesting fabrics and embellishments to create fashionable abayas. Some of these abayas are more suited to special events and occasions; however, others are designed for everyday wear in areas where modesty codes may not be strictly enforced and where women are permitted some degree of freedom in their clothing choices.



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