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March 29, 2012

Me meeting Judith Duriez - Arabesque Sheilas & Abayas designer

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The market of Abaya designing is extremely growing, we getting more and more Abaya designers who try their best in creating new lines of Abaya, but there always will be those top designers who’s creations you will dreaming to wear. Since i knew Arabesque brand, I admired the taste of cuts and that amazing taste of laces decorations. For me it is truly haut couture among local Abaya brands.

I’ve featured Arabesque brand several times every time they launched a new collection. Every time i got lots of feedback with the words of love & admiration in address to Judith -designer of Arabaeque Sheilas & Abayas
Once i got an invitation from Anne-Sophie, Judith’s personal assistant to a personal meeting with Judith herself. That honestly was a great honor for me. The meeting was nicely organized by Arabesque team and held in their new boutique in the Sunset Mall, Jumeirah, Dubai.

My friend with  a colleague accompanied me for the meeting.  We  were met with hospitality by Judith herself  and her assistant Anne-Sophie, After we had a brief introduction of each other Judith let us see and enjoy her creations. The masterpieces of Abaya couture were all around. The fabrics,laces, cuts, patterns, QUALITY -everything we touched and saw was incredible,high level, perfect choice and taste. What i really loved- everything was absolutely UNIQUE. You can understand that after you have visited hundreds of Abaya shops and dozens of different designers.
The meeting was continued by interview as i had really prepared some very special questions which were based on “Khaleejia’s life” blog readers comments and likes. So i hope you find the answers on the questions you were really looking for.
-Judith, thank you very much for inviting us today to your Arabesque boutique and have this chance to meet with you in person. What a great honor!
( here she was complementing me back….blushing me ^_^)
- So, my first question to you is:
- What do local women like the most in your Abayas?
J.-Women here in Dubai and UAE generally are very well aware of quality and fashion in the market. Here at Arabesque we focus on Quality, and innovative designs. That is what people like us for.  Here people say-
“After we forget its price we just  keep enjoying the quality for longer”.
-By the way, what is your opinion on eastern and western fashion trends?
J.-Fashion in East and West is changing frequently. Every other day there is something new in the market. To keep up with the fast pace, we need to penetrate in the market to get the knowhow of new fads and trends. Compared  to western, eastern fashion is more alleged to religious norms, so the design of product should not be contradicting with the same.
What do you think is the future of Abaya designing in Dubai?
J.-The future of Abaya designing is growing as people are becoming better  aware of fashion and are getting more quality focused. Dubai Abaya brands are becoming famous around the world and Arab fashion in penetrating through the European and American markets, attracting more and more people but its capital lies in the most fashionable and luxury city of the world Dubai.
-What will you never do with your Abaya designs?
J.-I don’t want it to be look like anything other than an Abaya. As a designer I do get inspiration from the European trends and fashion, but mixing the religious and cultural norms with the fashion now a days can be a challenge for some designers. So, that is the only thing I will try to avoid.
- Judith, what are your goals?
J.-The market of Abaya designers is extremely growing all over the world. Everyday competition is increasing.  So, me main focus here is to give the very best of what I can bring in the market, as this is what my clients are expecting of me.
- Here is one interesting question, What can you design for ladies who live outside GCC but adore Abaya yet can’t wear it due to cultural difference?
J.- Yes, it is not welcomed to wear Abaya in some western countries due to cultural and religious constrains. Now I am focusing on creating some designs with different colors, other than the darkest shades, specifically black to change the look. Also i think to use different kinds of materials and shorter  length to be able wear them in colder weather conditions.

- Would you launch the economy line for those who can’t afford to buy your main collection Abayas?
J. -Yes, surely we are thinking of launching the Abaya not that expensive as our main collection is. You will see the new Economy collection in the market very soon.
- Well, it is actually a great news for your brand fans !  I have seen many comments on the price issue, and yes, you have some really costly Abayas but i also noticed that you also have a very average pricing of Abayas. Let me mention that , price is not higher than 1500 Dhs. but same  quality  maybe with less decorative laces.
J. -Oh, it is a major misconception as actually  we have a wide range of prices also i must mention that price of the same Abaya cut  can impressively vary and it is a very flexible issue. As we can make Abaya for less price by replacing expensive laces that i personally design and order from special factories in France where Chanel, Dior and other world famous designers  do their orders as well. We only need to know your preferences and expectations and the rest is our job to do our best to fulfill them.
Merci beaocoup! Dear Judith that's all my questions to you  for today. Thank you for your time and it was a great pleasure to meet you. You are unique, very talented and amazing person i’ve met. Thank you for having us as your guests today.
J.-That was my pleasure as well…

Judith allowed me to do some special photos in her boutique. Having now camera exept the one on the blackberry phone,  I only  hope they still can represent hospitality and  the exclusivity of Arabesque brand Sheilas & Abayas.
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with love from Khaleejia.


  1. Thanks for this post, it's very interesting. I like how Judith said she does not want abayas to be seen as something else.
    I wish I could afford Arabesque abayas, but for now it's something I can only dream about and envy those women who wear Arabesque :)

  2. and I forgot to add that you are really pretty! You could work on TV with your gorgeous smile!

  3. Anon, i wish i know your name!
    Well thank you so much for your comment and if you notice, Judith mentioned that she is going to launch economy but same gorgeous line soon :)
    Abt your additional note...may i not comment that as i am still too shy ^_^ and why would i leave my dearest readers for tv viewers? noway! ;)

  4. Asalamulaikum !!
    I really like your blog, ESPECIALLY Those henna n abayas post thank you so much for sharing it all !

    I'l be luring more into your blog n I hope you keep posting more n more interesting things !! looking forward to it !!


  5. asalaamu alaikum, great interview. Never been to an Arabesque store before, I lived in Saudi for a year, and we didnt have them there. But, I live in the USA and do wear hejab with abaya or jilbeb and Im curious why she thinks Muslimaat in the west want to wear abaya but are unable too. LOL. thats funny! Muslim women are free to dress as they like in abaya, jilbab, whatever in every western country. The only problem is with Niqab in like France or someplace...but even in France many Muslim women wear abaya. Abaya is NOT a cultural dress, its Islamic attire which fullfill the criteria for an overgarment, much like a jilbeb would do so and if a sister is covering for the sake of her God not for people...but to show her piety and faith as a Muslim woman then she wouldnt be ashamed of wearing abaya in a western country and the vast majority of non Muslim westerners wouldnt care anyway! Most people are pretty laid back!

    Just wanted to mention this...I always think its funny when I see Saudi and Gulf Arab girls come here for school and they abandon their abayaat for short tunics and skinny pants so they 'fit in'...meanwhile wearing their abaya is more modest, better hejab and would also fit in as well!

  6. What a great post! Looking forward to seeing more of your coverage :)

  7. Blog very attractive. Congratulations!

  8. I love Arabesque. For ladies that want to look really elegant.

  9. Good know about the talented designer Judith, who had no connection with the Islamic culture is now a well known name in the abaya industry.

    Wish the photo-shoots on their sites be more modest as the abaya is a religious dress which fulfills the islamic dress code.

    Just wanted to share few things about the present day abaya trends....

    In my personal opinion, most of the girls in the middle-east wear abaya as a traditional arabic dress and not really knowing its essence in Islam and its teachings about modesty. But many of them living outside choose to wear abaya as a completion of their faith(Eeman) after taking so much pressure, mockery, etc from the society.

    So lets respect the abaya, by not taking it to the extremes of fashion, as ultimately we all should dress to please Allah, and not to please His creation!

    So just wanted to say that these days abayas are losing its purity & identity in the name of 'fashion' and has now become a stage where its hard to identify whether this should be called an abaya or not. So lets not forget the basics!


will appreciate your kind notes :)