Fueled by cold weather and Messi's influence

Surge in demand for winter abayas in Basra’s Al-Mukhayyam market

BASRA, December 23 – Zubair’s Al-Mukhayyam Market, one of the oldest markets in Basra, is witnessing a significant increase in demand for winter abayas, a trend driven by both the colder weather and a resurgence in interest among the youth in traditional attire.

This growing trend has been further bolstered by a memorable moment during the World Cup finals when Qatar’s Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani presented international soccer icon Lionel Messi with an Arabic abaya.

Fadel Jasim, a tailor with 60 years of experience, highlights the historical significance of the market, dating back 150 years. Tailors in Al-Mukhayyam Market source their fabrics from Al-Aqil Market in Zubair, importing materials from countries such as Iran, Syria, and Japan. Popular winter abayas, known for their specific fabrics like ‘wobr’, ‘herbad’, and ‘Abu Shahar’, vary in price from $50 to $1000, based on the quality of the thread and fabric used.

In contrast, summer abayas, particularly the ‘Najafi abayas’, are favored for their luxurious silk and Brisam thread embroidery, signifying their quality.

Mohammed Yousuf, a Najdi-origin tailor, observes a shift in the demographic embracing abayas. While traditionally worn by elders, dignitaries, and religious scholars, abayas now enjoy widespread appeal among younger generations. The styles of abayas vary across tribes and regions, each distinguishable by unique embroidery styles such as ‘Kalabdoon’ and ‘Misamar’.

Specialists in men’s abaya production, notably from Najaf and Kadhimiya, are experiencing heightened demand both locally and internationally. This surge is partly attributed to the recent high-profile moment involving Lionel Messi in Qatar, which has added a contemporary flair to this traditional garment, particularly among young men.

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