The Islamic Fashion Festival which started six years ago, in Kuala Lumpur reflects the growing sales of stylish clothes for Muslim women. After Jakarta, this event expanded to Dubai in 2008, featuring more than 200 designers. Dato Raja Rezza Shah, chairman of the Islamic Fashion Festival wishes to establish these three cities, namely, Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta, Dubai, as the Islamic fashion capitals, just as London, Paris, New York and Milan are for Western labels.
The full-body Islamic swimwear, known as the “burqini”, a contraction of burqa and bikini, now available in more than 30 countries, is attracting a growing attention. Created by the Turkish firm Hasema, the “burqini” allows Muslim women to swim in a comfortable way while retaining their modesty. While some burqinis are black, many are available in bright colors.
The sale of abaya, caftan and other traditional Arabian long dresses increases considerably during the month of Ramadan. Riyadh based, Soumaya Akremi, is currently showing, an exclusive collection of maxi dresses for Ramadan at Vibe, in Centria Mall off Olaya Street.
Despite having studied at ESSEC and the famous Hotel School in Lausanne, two of the world’s top management schools, Soumaya decided three years ago, to create her own label, “Le Dressing de Soumi”. Her clothes blend a modern Arab style with Western fashion.
Tunisian born, Soumaya readily admits that before coming to Saudi Arabia, she knew that Saudi women loved fashion but never expected them to be so stylish.
“While fashion imposes a way of wearing certain clothes in a specific scheme of colors, style gives a woman a unique look… After the economic crisis, a lot of women have changed the way they dress. They pay more attention to the way they spend their money. As far as I am concerned, style is an attitude and not a price”.
Her new line of maxi dresses is both affordable and versatile. These long dresses can be worn for a casual or a more formal occasion. If you have budget constraints, you can choose accessories that you can mix and match and create a new look every day. These stylish abayas can be worn with long chains, dangling pendants, colorful necklaces or even with a belt tied on the waist.
A scarf is also a must have. Scarves are today an indispensable fashion accessory. This versatile piece of cloth which comes in various sizes, vivid colors, stripes, geometric or animal prints, can be worn around the neck, and tied in many different ways over an abaya.
Kate Middleton’s choice of lace for her wedding dress has been a real trend setter. Lace is everywhere this season, it is being used as never before. Designers are adding lace to everyday wear such as blouses, skirts and dresses. Although Soumaya has not used it, she suggests wearing her long dresses with a pair of lacey shoes or a handbag enhanced with some lace.
Soumaya acknowledges that she has been interested in fashion since her childhood. However, she does not have a favorite designer, “It depends on the collections” says Soumaya who admits she prefers natural fabrics. “This year I have designed soft and feminine dresses which are comfortable to wear. They come in bold colors as well as soft neutrals and pastels”. This present collection of abayas reflects Soumaya’s taste: A mix of elegance and casual chic which creates the perfect understated look with plenty of style.
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