Tala Al-Ashek Designs Revolt Against Black Abayas in KSA [Wamda TV]

by Ahmed Al Majid,   November 11, 2012

While studying in Jeddah, Tala Al-Ahek was disappointed with the lack of fashion in traditional "abaya" designs, and how it limited the opportunity for women to express their sense of style and fashion. This led her to create 3abella (pronounced: ‘Aba-ella), a Jeddah-based fashion line of colorful "abayas" with delicate and detailed designs. 

An ‘Abaya is a loose over-garment, which resembles a cloak-like dress, commonly worn by women in some parts of the Islamic world, especially in North Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. Women tend to wear ‘abayas on daily basis, especially in Saudi, where it is a legal requirement in public. Yet these ‘abayas have traditionally been black with blend designs and limited opportunity for fashion and style expression. 3abella hopes to change this by providing women with colorful ‘abaya designs that are rich in patterns and design, and thus allowing women to express their style.

The success of 3abella has been overwhelming thus far; within weeks from the line’s soft launch Tala and her partner, Safaa Sabagh, had more orders than they could handle and were featured in multiple national exhibitions, such as the Hilton Exhibition in Jeddah.

Tala talks about the challenges she faced as a female entrepreneur in Saudi, the role her family and friends played in the brand’s success, and what she thinks of the local entrepreneurship opportunities for women.


Ahmed Al Maid is a graduate of McGill University with a degree in engineering and management. He is interested in collaborative consumption and the application of gamification elements to increase user/costumer engagement in social entrepreneurship projects. He currently works as a project engineer with Saudi Aramco at the Kesytone Center, an idea translation lab being built inside the anticipated King Abdulaziz Centre for World Culture in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. He is also the co-founder of the upcoming mobile app KareSpot, a mobile network that aims to connect volunteers with volunteering opportunities in MENA. You can find him on Twitter at @ahmed_oo.

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