Celebrating Womanhood With Abayas


Using the rich cultural heritage of Pakistan and the Middle East, this modern woman has redefined the meaning of following one’s dreams

By Ghazala Tikki Zaman and Tabassum Vally

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Published: Thu 23 Mar 2023, 11:55 AM

Grace, poise and elegance aptly describes Musfira Saleem Suleman and her creations. Musfira is the creative mind behind Abaya Lab, a company that is known for draping women in beautifully curated abayas.

When the pandemic hit in 2020, Musfira had just completed her internship at Chalhoub Group and soon, she was meant to start her career with the same company. However, March 2020 was a turning point in her life, when due to lockdowns and online working, Musfira decided to start her own business.

Musfira had a dream since her teen years to create her own line of clothing and it was in the year 2020 that she opted to start her own business, rather than working from nine to five in an office.

Musfira reflected on her life in the UAE which is home for her. She lovingly recalled her early years in Dubai and she feels very fortunate to be a part of Dubai’s new young entrepreneur’s forum. Musfira mentioned the ease with which she started her business and though she was extremely young with no experience of setting up business, Dubai offered her every help and guidance she needed. She met no hurdles in establishing her ‘dream business’ and today, she has more than fifteen hundred clients.

Abaya Lab is a curious name and was carefully chosen by her. The philosophy behind her line is that every woman is different and that she carries a unique beauty, which is reflected in her choice of clothing. Musfira aspires to bring out this beauty as each abaya is custom-made according to her client’s taste and need.

Her concept is unique as it allows her clients to design their own abayas. Once the client designs the abaya, that particular design is named after that client. Most of these designs can be found on the Abaya Lab website. The Abaya Lab has a vast choice of colours and materials which women can chose from, according to their needs and of course budget. Abaya Lab offers abayas of different price ranges. Musfira’s latest innovation has been affordable abayas for students and teens who are reluctant to spend a large sum on clothes.

Each abaya is carefully curated by her team of almost hundred individuals, who excel in their field. The materials are carefully chosen and there is no compromise on quality. The embroidery is inspired by ethnic motifs from Pakistan and the Middle East, depicting the rich heritage of both regions.

Abaya Lab provides colours and patterns according to the seasons; lighter colours for summers and richer colours for winter. Besides seasons, Musfira offers her clients themed abayas according to various festive season such as Ramadan and Eid.

Abaya Lab is looking to cross borders and is making its mark globally. Her clients are now spread across the globe including the Netherlands, Sweden, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. It’s a proud moment for her as over a short period of time, Musfira has made a huge impact on the abaya industry and she profusely expresses her gratitude to Dubai, and her home country Pakistan for making her dream come true.

“Abaya Lab uses a lot of ethnic colours and motifs from Pakistan, a country with a rich heritage when it comes to embroidery and it is this heritage that I aspire to bring to my abaya creations. When I see women in our created abayas, it gives me an immense sense of achievement and gratitude to Dubai for making my dream come true,” said Musfira.

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