The essence of the fashion and purpose of the Abaya and the Jilbab are modesty and complete covering of the Muslim lady's body shape. Skin is as much as possible covered completely. Additionally, any type of adornment or embellishment on top of the Abaya and the Jilbab are allowed for the pure expression of the fashion taste of the Muslim woman without going against Islamic beliefs.
It is assumed that this clothing are necessities in the Islamic culture and religion. Yes, but these women simply chose to wear them according to their own personal decisions because they love their own religion and culture. For them, it is but right that whatever adorns them should be modest, private and moral.
Both the Abaya and the Jilbab are similar to each other and are worn over clothing that are deemed too tight to be worn in public. How they are worn and how much of the body parts are covered depends on the Muslim society where the women are located.
The Abaya dress is usually made of soft flowing polyester fabric and is colored black. They are long sleeved, and reach up to the floor. It should hide the curves of the female body.
It is paired with a Hijab (scarf) or Niqab as covering for the head.
A present day Abaya dress is the kaftan which is made from a light flowing fabric such as chiffon. Depending on the location, they could have embroidery, bright colored or even have artwork on them.
Jilbab also refers to any loose outer garment that covers the body shape of the Muslim woman. The phrase Jilbab is mentioned in the Quran. The Jilbab is also called a long rope. They come in many styles, even with embroidery and some with no hood. In the present times, some have buttons and zippers, and in the sawn up pattern, which is worn over the head. Another innovation is the inclusion of a visor to protect the face from the sun.
The milestone was 2014 when DKNY started a capsule collection for Ramadan. This triggered an onslaught of other designer labels following suit with creativity executed on longer hemlines. flowing fabrics and unique headscarves for their Middle Eastern customers for this Muslim holy season.
In the State of the Global Islamic Economy Report 2019-20, $283 billion was spent on fashion by the Muslim clientele. It is projected to grow to $402 billion by 2024.
One issue of Muslim designers is that these Abaya dresses and Jilbab outfits were mostly available only in the Middle East where only 20 percent of Muslims reside and that they were too expensive. Strategies should be done to make them affordable and more available to more Muslim women elsewhere in the world.
2017 marked the success of Carolina Herrera's Abaya dress collection. Al Busmait called them "impeccably tailored pieces using modern fabrics while still maintaining the modesty element".
For this year 2020, Carolina Herrera will present bright yellow Muslim inspired outfits witn embroidered keyhole neckline. Michael Kors will release a Navy metallic dress with daisies all over with matching shayla.
There are also niches of these customers who go for more opulent Abayas with heavy decorations and beautiful head accessories - from headbands, scarves and turbans.
There are also Muslim women who are experimenting with minimalist but fashionably tailored Abayas still paralleled to modesty standards.
This goes to show that the Muslim fashion circle is one in agreement that the wide reaching approach of offering to Muslim clientele should be through curated looks and designs that cater to different budgets,
cultures, tastes and levels of modesty and conservatism.
These are the keys to unlocking the gold, the oil and the petrol dollars of the Muslim fashion circle.
Designs that never mold into the contour of the female body, but speaks of good taste with specks of luxury and the use of comfortable, quality and flowing fabric.