Designer creates piece mixing Arab and Brazilian fashion styles
The ‘abayana’ is the creation of dancer Martina Cancio, who turned her hobby of fashion design into a business. The piece is a mix of the Arab abaya with the lightness and colors of the Brazilian state of Bahia
São Paulo – A professional dancer, Brazilian Martina Cancio always liked to design clothes as a hobby, but a spare time during her vacations this year made her put to paper the project of creating a piece that would mix the fashion style of the United Arab Emirates, where she currently lives, with the fashion of the Brazilian state of Bahia, her home state. From this combination came the “abayana”.
“Abayana is an open abaya that differs from the traditional ones, which are black and front-closed. The colors came from the Senhor do Bonfim wrist ribbons, which comes in all colors but black”, explains the dancer and now fashion designer.
For Cancio, the open piece means not only a different feature from the traditional abaya, but also a way of showing that the piece is designed to women that like the Arab fashion, but are more “open-minded”, willing to experiment something “more flexible and modern”, says the Brazilian. The brand’s logo also shows the fusion of the Arab and Baiano (i.e. from Bahia state) styles with a women wearing a turban and a typical UAE mask.
The pieces are designed by her, who also picks the materials and prints for them. Currently, there are three models being sold, with two more already ready for production.
The creation of the abayanas started during the Ramadan, the Muslim holy month that this year took place in June in the Western calendar. The pieces are made to order and Cancio says that they’re doing well in the social networks. “There are a lot of people contacting us because they found them very interesting”, she says.
She says that the idea is to please women from all nationalities. “The women like them. I want to design something joyful to please non-Muslim foreigners but like the elegance of the abaya, and also to please the Arab women, who use the black abaya in public but that can wear the abayana in their private parties, and the young women that already use the more open black abaya”, she says.
For those living in the UAE, the “abayana” costs AED 500 (USD 136.15). In Brazil, the piece is not yet for sale, but Cancio says that she’s already in talks to people interested in representing the brand in the country.
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*Translated by Sérgio Kakitani