Lulwa Salem has made a breakthrough in fashion designing by inventing a smart Abaya dedicated to protecting the women who wear it.
Ms. Salem is a graduate of the Delmon Star program run by Bahrain Fashion Incubator (BFI) and won first place in the Dilmun Star competition held last April.
Her invention works to protect the woman wearing the Abaya from the danger of exposure to high heat and alert her about health hazards that can occur during physical activities such as exercising and hiking.
The designer used a special fabric to reduce the heat by about ten degrees from the external temperature to make wearing it more comfortable and also prevent dehydration, as with high temperatures the body loses a large amount of water which disrupts its vital functions.
A fitness tracker is incorporated in the Abaya to track the heart rate and collect daily activity data such as the number of steps and calories burned. She used a reflective fabric in some areas to make walking at night safer and avoid potential road accidents.
The fabric is also characterised by its ability to prevent sticking to the body when sweating. In developing it further, Lulwa is planning to use an antibacterial fabric as an environmentally friendly alternative. The antibacterial fabric reduces the need to wash the Abaya and thus reduces the consumption of water.
“As a Khaliji woman, I love wearing Abaya all the time and I often feel the need to develop it to suit the region’s hot climate. I envision extending the application of this idea to serve different individuals in the society of different tastes in fashion including men and children using the same safety features in their garments. My approach in all my designs will always be centered around the use of modern technology in line with the global direction of the fashion industry,” said Ms. Salem.
She started her journey in fashion designing 15 years ago sketching designs of clothes she could not find in the market, then she obtained a Diploma in Fashion Design and joined the Delmon Star program last year. Through the program, she had an integrated experience in fashion design and entrepreneurship. She was inspired by the idea of applying technology to the Abaya during the Fabric Technolgy workshop presented in the early stages of the Dilmun Star program and worked on developing her ideas.