The 7th Sense – Bouguessa

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Sights, sounds, shows and stores – this region screams fashion. The Femina ME team introduces you to one of the biggest names from the Arab world resolved to make their mark.

It was her father that lit that first spark of interest. “I was talking to him about fashion and explaining how I felt that Dubai was the best place for me to start my fashion line and while discussing it he piped in with ‘Why don’t you make coloured abayas?’”, explained Faiza Bouguessa, designer and creator of her abaya line Bouguessa, “My first reaction was to deny his feedback because, in my mind, abayas were only meant to be black.” It wasn’t long before Faiza realised how much of a genius her father was. “The conversation with him was the beginning of prolonged research and reflection. Soon, I began seeing colour on abayas. They were being conveyed in small strokes but I realised that while the essence of the abaya stayed the same, the mode of expression was evolving,” she said. And that was how Bougessa began.

But respecting the guidelines of the abaya while working with international trends is a challenge. Especially when her own inspiration is an important factor too. Faiza states, “I read a lot about the abaya before I start designing. It becomes a challenge when trying to make the blend subtle and natural.” And how did she know she had overcome the challenge? “When both, Arab and Western women told me that they saw themselves wearing a Bougeuessa abaya!”

Faiza has always been attracted to the abaya and its intrigue, “I see enigma when I see the women of the region wearing it. They always look very feminine and carry it off with such grace.” And as a Muslim woman, herself, she appreciates the devotion to cultural and religious beliefs seen in the UAE even admitting her surprise when seeing how elegant and chic a black, fully covered outfit can look. “The only drawback was the limited selection. Even with the coloured abaya, there was no innovation. There was nothing that was close to my style and I realised that a lot of women felt that way,” she said when explaining how art and her own personal style inspired her design. “Contemporary abstract art and modern architecture are my muses. The global fashion scene moulds my designs too. My commitment is to introduce global fashion trends into my design,” she promises.

Keeping her essence at the fore and constantly adapting to evolution of the trend, Faiza will always strive to cater to women who want to maintain the traditional aspect of the abaya while expressing their individuality and sense of fashion.