hooded abaya

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The Middle East is a fascinating region with a history that dates back, so shining our spotlight on fashion and how it reflects a synthesis of traditional elements, cultural values, and modern influences can provide a unique perspective on the region’s rich heritage. 

Fashion in the Middle East encompasses a wide range of styles, from the opulent and luxurious to the more modest and conservative.

The bottom line is modesty: traditional garments in the region are designed to provide coverage, with an emphasis on concealing certain body parts while still maintaining elegance and sophistication.

And this is why we like Middle Eastern clothing so much: even though it is meant to cover your body, it can still be fashionable.

What is the Abaya?

The abaya is a traditional, loose-fitting, full-length outer garment worn by women in the Middle East.

The abaya is designed to cover the entire body, except for the hands, feet, and face, and was typically black or another dark color in the beginning. However, more colors are now becoming popular, including red, wine, pink, and cream. These additional colors allow women to express their personal style while still adhering to cultural norms. 

The abaya can also be embellished with embroidery, beading, or sequins to add to its trendy look. 

The Difference Between the Abaya and Burqa

The burqa’s most distinguishing characteristic is the face-covering mesh screen, which is worn to conceal a woman’s face while still allowing her to see. The burqa also covers the hands and feet and is traditionally an overgarment Usually black in color. In contrast, the abaya does not cover the hands, feet, or face.

What is the Hijab?

The hijab is a head covering worn by many Muslim women as an expression of their faith and a symbol of modesty. It is also a cultural practice for women in the Middle East in accordance with beliefs and tradition. 

The hijab covers the hair, ears, and neck while leaving the face exposed. It is typically paired with clothing that covers the body, such as loose-fitting dresses, abayas, or long skirts and tops.

Some common types of hijab are:

The traditional hijab, which covers the head and neck, leaving the face exposed. It can be secured with pins or tucked under the chin.

The Amira Hijab is a two-piece style, with one part covering the head and the other draping over the shoulders.

Shayla: A long rectangular scarf that is wrapped around the head and tucked or pinned in place.

Turban Hijab: The scarf is wrapped around the head like a turban, covering the hair and neck.

The Influence of the Abaya Burqa on Global Fashion

The advent of the modest fashion movement has drawn attention to apparel that provides coverage while being fashionable. Designers and fashion brands all over the world have begun to create modest fashion lines inspired by traditional clothing such as the abaya and burqa. This has resulted in the incorporation of modest designs into popular fashion.

As people from many cultural origins meet and share their differences, there is a rising appreciation for traditional types of clothing. The abaya and burqa have become markers of cultural identity and are now even worn by ladies who are not Muslims because of their unique styles and versatility.

Popular Abaya-Burqa Styles

Abaya and burqa styles can vary widely based on cultural, regional, and personal preferences. Here are some popular styles of abayas that you might find in different parts of the world:

  1. The Moroccan Abaya
  2. Classic Black Abaya: A timeless style, often in black or dark colors, with a loose fit and simple design. It can be worn for various occasions, from casual to formal.
  3. Open Abaya: This abaya style has an open front, often fastened with buttons or a tie, and is worn over regular clothing. It allows for versatility and ease of movement.
  4. Kimono Abaya: Inspired by Japanese kimono robes, this style features wide sleeves and a relaxed fit. 
  5. Bisht Abaya: Originating from the Gulf region, the bisht abaya is characterized by its cape-like design and decorative embroidery. It’s often worn for special occasions.
  6. Sporty Abaya: A more modern and casual style, designed with athletic influences like zip-up fronts, hoods, and sporty materials.

Overall, Middle Eastern fashion is a vibrant and diversified blend of heritage, culture, and modern inspirations that embraces new designs and innovations while also preserving its rich tradition.