Who says your abaya needs to be boring? Sabeen Rabbani of Modeste Abayas makes them look fabulous as ever with pearl details, pastel shades, and colour blocking. Unlike the regular black abayas, her abayas neither make you resemble a fellow at Hogwarts nor the Grim Reaper. She likes to keep things light – in terms of colour and fabric – and her love for designing abayas has her working day in and out since her brand’s launch in April.
Sabeen Rabbani, the brain behind Modeste Abayas, reveals it all in a tête-à-tête with Women’s Own.
What inspired you to start designing abayas?
Modeste Abayas began this year in March 2017 as a sister concern of the brand, Mehrene, which is owned by my youngest sister. She encouraged me to start my own line. Clothes were my biggest passion and abayas came next.
Struggling with a constant temptation to better the variety and quality available to us in Karachi, I started designing them myself. The weather and infrastructure here does not allow us to wear the thick black dark abayas available in the UAE or Saudia.
Do you design the abayas or have a design team to do it?
I don’t have a design team. I am my own design team.
Alhamdulilah! I’m just generally creative when it comes to designing clothes. And it gelled in perfectly with the Abaya line that I have been working on. I don’t have any professional training just years of designing and tailoring clothes for my family or friends as a passion or hobby.
What is the most common requirement of your clients?
I feel everyone wants superb quality and value for their money. Here at Modeste, we provide both.
What’s your hottest selling design till date?
“Pink /coffee motif design” is the hot favourite. I am showcasing it since the first Eid and still getting orders on it Alhamdulilah. I may have created nearly 25 of those to date. I am also wearing it in my shoot.
Do you find it difficult to convince people to modernize/stylize their abayas?
Not my clientele. Maybe some disprove, but by the grace of Almighty the 90 clients that I have from April 2017 to date, are the most rocking ever. I have not had a happier, more pleasant, and accommodating bunch of people to work with!
Modeste Clients are the best!
Which color do women prefer the most?
At Modeste, it’s the pastels. Beige/coffee, tea pink, and teal are hot favourites at Modeste
What is that one quick way to make your abaya look elegant and chic?
Add a contrasting scarf.
Is the fabric that you use breathable, because wearing the abayas in Pakistan is a challenge due to the heat?
Wearing abayas in June and October is a personal challenge for me. I use breathable fabrics to the best of my ability. Nothing is a challenge if you are comfortable and happy and are doing it for the will of Allah SWT.
What kind of designs are you working on these days?
I’m taking some time off for Moharaam. InshaAllah after Safar I’m going to launch the fall collection. I have worked all three days of Eid ul Adha and to date have not taken a single day off MashaAllah catering to all my clients all across the world. Truly blessed!
Do you have any international designer you look up to?
The internet is full of photographs. I have always been inspired by the D&G Abaya collection and Annah Harriri’s designs.
Whose abaya collection are you digging recently?
My plate has been more or less full…I am overworked at the moment and have been delivering my orders to Chicago and New York. Honestly, I haven’t had a chance to dig into someone particular. Did a lot of window shopping in UAE last month so have a fair idea of what people like and what they run away from.
What would you say to women who are afraid of experimenting with their abayas?
It’s always a personal choice when it comes to covering for the sake of religion. My abayas may not seem as modest as the name suggests, but the feel of them and the intention behind making each and every piece is purely modest and straight from the heart.
There is no intention to catch anyone’s eye or to be attractive in a non halal way…just want all women who wear abayas to feel beautiful classy and happy.