Oct 13, 2010

I dream of an abaya from DAS!

Remember abayas ten years ago? They were practically dripping in sequins and crystals! To say that they were OTT would be an understatement!

That's why it is refreshing to find in the past year that abaya designers are incorporating directional fashion and elements of minimalism (which is a hot trend right now) into their designs.

You have the statement dress, the statement necklace, the statement bag and the statement shoes, but now there is also the statement abaya.

I would have to say that the real pioneers behind the statement abaya would have to be Emirati designers and sisters Reem and Hind Beljafla, who together created luxury abaya label DAS in 2008.

DAS stands for Daffa, Abaa and Suwaiya, which are the three types of abaya traditionally worn by Gulf women throughout history. The Abaa was usually in plain black so as to not draw attention to one's self, the Dafaa was a thicker abaya usually made from wool which was worn in winter, and the Suwaiya was the abaya for glam wear which was usually trimmed with gild thread.

Reem set about designing her own range of abayas by studying at the prestigious St Martin's College in London and learnt how to work with colours by working with world famous florist Jane Packer. Her sister Hind then joined forces with her and they haven't looked back since. Reem and Hind are two of the most successful business women in the UAE who have won countless awards for their hard work and success. And the success of DAS has been phenomenal. DAS abayas are so hot that they even have their own section in Harrods!

I literally become all dreamy when I see a DAS abaya, like a bride-to-be who sees a wedding dress in a shop window!

And guess what? I was lucky enough to get a mini-interview with both Reem and Hind!

When did it hit you that you wanted to become a fashion designer and design a line of luxury abayas?

Reem: I always had passion for fashion. But after graduating with a degree interior design and taking few fashion courses in Central Saint Martin School of Fashion, I decided with the help of my sister Hind to start our own fashion line. We have always designed our own abayas, but we also realized that people ask us where we get our abayas from. It came to our attention that there is a huge market for trendy and modern abaya designs, this is where we came in to fill this market need.

Where do you find inspiration for your abaya designs?

Reem: We get our inspirations from all over the world. We travel a lot and are directly exposed to international and global fashion standards. We also are constantly updated with the latest fashion trends and try to work it through to our local abaya designs.

Today there is a growing number of young women calling themselves abaya designers. What makes DAS abayas stand out from the rest?

Reem: As pioneers in creating abayas fit for all occasions, we raised the bar high to start with. Today's young women are equally exposed to international trends, and want nothing for themselves but to look glamorous at any given time. We at DAS made that happen. It is up to our well educated high-end audience to make the distinction.

Hind, how involved are you and your sister Reem in the production process of your designs?

Hind: We both complete each other in this regard and are equally involved in this manner. Reem handles the design aspect and I make sure it all goes smoothly and perfectly.

What's in store for your Spring/Summer 2011 collection?

Reem: For the new collection we have lace, tassels and 50s and 60s vintage cuts along with fresh youthful colors. Lace and tassels are timeless classic pieces, we worked their feminism and uniqueness into our abayas to give them the trendy classic chic look. Sometimes a little detail can make all the difference in the garment.

Finally, where do you see DAS in five years?

Hind: I see DAS as a high-end Emirati brand recognized globally.

Thanks ladies!

From the A/W 2010 collection

From the A/W 2010 collection

From the A/W 2010 collection

From the Resort '10 collection

Dying for a DAS abaya? Get yours by visiting the DAS boutique on Um Al Sheif Street in Jumeirah, Dubai, or if you're in London, pop into Harrods!

Need to make an order? Email DAS at info@dascollection.com.

For more information, check out the DAS website and the Facebook page

Be sure to check out Hind's fabulous blog!

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