Jeddah: More women are donning colourful abayas in Saudi Arabia.
The change has come after Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman said recently that the abaya is not mandatory in Islam
“This, however, does not particularly specify a black abaya. (It) is entirely left for women to decide what type of decent and respectful attire to wear.”
Until a formal edict comes however, designers such as Eman Joharjy are cashing in on the growing popularity of colourful “sports abayas” as they have been called.
“There is a big demand,” Joharjy told AFP at her fashion studio in Jeddah.
“Having them in different colours is empowering.”
Akin to a zippered jumpsuit, sports abayas envelop a woman’s body but offer greater mobility for sporting activities, in contrast to the classic baggy version where tripping on the hem of the flowing garment is a common risk.
The 43-year-old’s designs come in colours like pistachio green, beige and white – more tolerable in the kingdom’s scorching heat – and she uses natural fabrics, including French poplin, that do not cling to a sweating body.
One of the early pioneers of the trend, Joharjy said she began designing – and donning – sports abayas publicly in 2007.
“I designed it for myself, because it’s practical,” she said.
The latest fad is an eye-catching ensemble of “soccer-themed abayas” – in the colours of the local teams, a new way for female sporting fans to cheer for their favourite players.
Muslim cleric Shaikh Ahmad Bin Qassim Al Ghamdi added a new wrinkle to the debate when he dismissed the long-held view that black was the only colour for abayas permissible in Islam.
“The cloak is meant for maintaining a modest look and it does not have to be black,” the former chief of the religious police in the holy city of Makkah, told Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya television last month.
Source – Gulf News