A Dubai-based abaya fashion designer has come up with a way to take the traditional black cloak into the future by integrating nanotechnology into its sleeves, giving the garment the capability to charge a smartphone or tablet. Manaal Al Hammadi showcased her solar-powered abaya at the last month’s World Energy Summit 2016 at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre.
Al Hammadi, who designs modern abaya with contemporary detailing, integrated solar cells into its generous folds. She experimented with organic photovoltaic (OPV) units, made of flexible and lightweight thin film (pictured below) that can be “printed” using roll-to-roll production processes. These cells are durable, and have relatively low levels of embedded energy.
She placed the collectors in sleeves in order to receive maximum solar exposure, and softened the high-tech look with trims and bead work to give the illusion of delicate embroidery. Charging ports are hidden in the front pocket of the abaya, for convenient device plug-in.
Wearable tech is hot, with new versions constantly coming online, but this is the world’s first piece of Islamic fashion to jump on the trend. In the rapidly development mash-up of tech, renewable energy and fashion, when will we see solar panels on hijab or yarmulke?
Manaal Al Hammadi’s Abaya Designs can be found at The Fashion Vault in Sunset Mall, Dubai. You can follow her on her instagram page @manaalalhammadi.