Bouguessa & the Global Abaya


In this issue, we are spotlighting Arabian talent in a time where luxury consumerism is at an all time high in its communities. The world is aware of how much GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) spends on superior craftsmanship, but how many people are educated in the Arabian products that are locally created? One industry which has nurtured a rising breed of artisans is fashion. GCC fashion designers are renowned for their closeness to their culture and their unique ability to accommodate the ever-growing trend of modest wear.

Faiza Bouguessa is a Dubai-based womenswear designer who is part of this wave of contemporary GCC creatives. This self-taught, French-Algerian designer often credits her grandmother for kickstarting her love for fashion. Raised in France, Ms. Bouguessa is known for incorporating modern French style in creating what is now known as the ‘global abaya’. The ‘global abaya’ infuses the cultural Islamic garb, traditionally black and sparse in detail, with contemporary approaches to structure and colour while remaining true to its modest qualities. The brand’s vision for modernity is further exemplified by the office’s location in Dubai’s Business Bay. There, along with three different retailers in Dubai, such as the Dubai Mall, Ms. Bouguessa is surrounded by Dubai’s most ambitious and successful creative talents.

Bouguessa’s Spring-Summer 18 collection is a relaxed yet expressive offering of long coats and ankle-length hems. Most of the looks have a contemporary softness but Bouguessa has occasionally injected metallics for women with penchant for edginess.

It is the modest trait of designs such as Bouguessa’s that are experiencing a surge of popularity all over the world. Singer Beyoncé even wore one of the designer’s creations in an Instagram post. Western designers are adopting longer silhouettes, acknowledging that modesty is a personal choice and not a cultural distinction. Dubai Fashion Week featured modest garb that had avant-garde interpretations, confirming that innovation is as present in Middle Eastern creatives as it is elsewhere.

The brand of Bouguessa is distributed by the likes of Moda Operandi, Bloomingdales Kuwait and Per Lei Qatar. Other contemporary UAE-based brands are eccentric RTW houses such as Zayan and Reemani, and the sleek house of Hâshé.

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