Designing Women of the Desert
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE
Because more than just clothing is changing in the lives of Khaleeji women.
By Charlotte Buchen
Under the abaya — or cloak — that is traditional for women to wear on the Arabian Peninsula, “we’re just like all women around the world,” says Bekita Ahmed, a young Qatari designer. “We love fashion, we love trends.” The abaya has become an object of high fashion, and a favorite starting point for young designers like Ahmed. After all, it’s the most publicly visible garment worn by women in these oil- and gas-rich regions of the Persian Gulf who otherwise indicate their designer tastes with handbags, shoes and sunglasses.
Watch our video to hear from the newly educated generation of women who are transforming not only style but also society, by starting small, entrepreneurial fashion ventures. And maybe the rest of the world is listening: Dolce & Gabbana just launched its first line of abayas.
- Charlotte Buchen, Charlotte Buchen is a filmmaker who recently returned from living in Qatar to join OZY's video department. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Current TV, Newsweek.com and PBS FRONTLINE/World. She loves the ocean, a good story and live music. Follow Charlotte Buchen on TwitterContact Charlotte Buchen