Abaya collections at the Dubai Fashion Week

Models display the abaya collections from Marayem Abayas (left) and the Modest (right)
Image Credit: Zarina Fernandes/Gulf News
Models display the abaya collections from Marayem Abayas (left) and the Modest (right).

It's amazing how far your college degree can take you. It can guarantee you a comfortable income, a respectable social position, or even your own business.

Such is the case with two Emirati sisters Mariam and Fatima Mustafa. One holds a degree in Visual Communications and another in Finance. The ambitious women have put together what they learnt in university and started an abaya fashion line called Marayem Abayas in 2009. The initial idea was to sell to friends and family, but as their designs advanced and demand increased, so did their goals.

Their collection was a blend of the latest fashion trends of Europe with the traditions of the Arabian Gulf, and they did so without losing the essence of the abaya or its modesty. Their designs consist of minimal colour use (mostly black) with a creative touch of lace with an attempt to bring back the vintage elegance of the '50s and '60s.

This collection can be found at Ush boutique, Jumeirah, and on Facebook, with prices not exceeding Dh2,000.

On Thursday, another abaya label, Modest, by designer Aisha Al Aleeli, was not that modest at all. Extremely wild and experimental, with inspirations from Morocco, India and Western-wear, none of the abayas related to each other in any way. The use of colours was sometimes courageous, yet not necessarily a great combination. The pieces looked like they have been put together in a hurry, as the beads and crystals seemed to almost fall apart.

Aisha is an ambitious and experimental designer, though, selling abayas at her house in Ajman — which shows just how persistent and focused she is in her goal. So, hopefully, there will be more to come of these out-of-the box designs and that she be more ready next time.