What Is a Couture Abaya?

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  • Written By: Laura M. Sands
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 11 January 2020
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Couture abaya is a term used to describe high fashion gowns or caftans worn by Muslim women that are made exclusively for high-end customers. These abaya styles are even sometimes specifically designed and tailored for a single customer. Even when couture abayas are not made for individual women, they are not mass-produced like some other types of abayas. A couture abaya design is usually purchased directly from a designer or a designer may place couture designs in specialty boutiques.

The act of wearing an abaya is often intended as a fashion statement since many Muslim women have a choice of wearing one or not. By choosing an abaya, women are agreeing with a modest dress code as is traditionally recommended by the Muslim religion. In opting for abaya fashion choices, many women prefer unique designs made from various fabrics and which are offered in an array of colors and styles. Usually, abayas are also paired with matching head coverings known as hijabs.


Haute couture abaya designs are very popular, as they not only offer unique stylings, but are deemed to be very high-end fashion choices often worn by women of elite social status. Similar to high-end Western runway fashions, couture abaya choices are not commonly sold in retail stores, but are, instead, only available for purchase directly from an original designer or from boutiques that specialize in couture fashion. It is not unusual for a boutique specializing in couture abaya designs to be closed to the general public or for such designs to be viewable by appointment only. Couture designs may even be created for a single customer.

Designers specializing in couture abayas often display their fashions at exclusive abaya fashion shows. Websites and blogs often highlight these fashions, and they are frequently displayed and written about in fashion magazines. Couture fashion is usually quite costly and, often, deliberately so. Not only are the costs of expensive fabrics and embellishments factored in to the price, but costs are often set very high in an effort to maintain the exclusivity of certain designs.

In addition to shopping in specialty boutiques, individuals shopping for couture abaya fashions may also do so online or by catalog. While exclusive abaya design houses are found in various parts of the world, many are located in Islamic countries where a large number of women wear abaya fashions. Regardless of where they are found, the women most likely to regularly wear such fashions are typically those with large disposable incomes.


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