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.