Diraacs…

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I finally got my my anticipated Somali diraacs from Umm Abdullah at Diraac Fabulous about 2 weeks ago. They were perfect, I just had to shortening the under skirt a wee tad (because the trend is for the “empire” look and I prefer my skirts to be at my waist). Anyway, they were perfect!

I dont have really good pictures yet but I did manage to take this picture using my husbands laptop of me modeling one of the diraacs. This one is a regularly cut one and I have on arm covers. The dress is tucked into the waistband of the skirt and I am wearing a matching hijab with the shawl draped over my shoulder.

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The other one is a farasha or butterfly style diraac where the dress is actually sewn into a butterfly style and it’s tucked into the skirt in a slightly different way.

I admit it took me a few tries to get the diraac looking right, but I think I have it. I am now totally loving these things! I could dig this for everyday wear even.

Umm Abdullah has a new website called Diraac fabulous and a Facebook group, called Diraac Collectors, where she sells her authentic diraac creations

smallbanner2I think they will be great for a sisters party and I am also thinking that you could wear them around the house pretty easily and/or have one made where the dress is like ankle length and just wear that with the skirt so you dont need to tuck the skirt in. Either way, they r pretty neat!

Here are some pictures I found froma Somali-owned shop in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia which sells the diraacs and other traditional Somali items. I sooo hope shops like this exist in the Eastern Provinces because I can forsee lotsa happy shopping ahead if there is!

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( I want one of those dresses!)

( I want one of those dresses!)

6 thoughts on “Diraacs…

  1. (you can print this as a post if you like InshaAllaah; tweak it a bit ; had a lot going on so ashamedly was just about able to write a short piece for my blog on the site and not got started on my one for here was about to start it, read this post; wrote this really long comment and here I am lol😦 )

    Asalaamu Alaykum wa Rahmatullaahi wa Barakaatu

    wow jazakAllaahkhayr for the article you beat me to mine lol; InshaAllaah I am offering FREE alterations for anyone buying a diraac from me until the 31st August. Where did you find the Jeddah pics? Oh aha I found it. Because I think my father-in-law knows that guy (the one sans hat) and I went to his previous shop subhanAllaah in fact I spent hours in there as their stuff seemed to be better designed for tall people like me than anywhere else and the quality was brilliant also; weird small world eh? A couple of years back all the Somali stores in Jeddah had to close (well most of them) as the shopping arcade they were in was built in medieval times and was structurally unsound; so they all reopened, all shiny and new; in various malls scattered around mashaAllaah. Seems like they have adopted exactly the same store layout and are selling the same products as before though mashaAllaah; although they do eventually catch up on the latest diraac fashions over there and they go on to have a fringe following; it seems the cottony ones die-hard in popularity mashaAllaah. Coincidentally, my father-in-law is going to Jeddah this very month; so InshaAllaah I will tell him to get some of those tie-dye housedresses and a few other things for the site inshaAllaah; as I was already thinking of that idea myself. By the way next to the tie-dye dresses; all those folded up dresses are also housedresses in rayon challis prints, they are really nice too; and I know this particular shop has very very long ones mashaAllaah. Any other suggestions please let me know!

    By the way the massive batik pieces in the pictures; with the smaller matching square piece; are called guntiino, and shaash respectively. Guntiino is like a sari-type garment; the traditional one is the red-striped variety (as worn by the Japanese lady in your other article) and is the true traditional dress of many Somali nomads; but these new silky varieties are now popular (they are not silk but rayon with a waxed coating); and some types even have ironed-on or machine-embroidered sequins on them. The guntiino consists of two pieces; a larger 4 yard approx piece that is wrapped and knotted around the body; and a smaller piece; which is called garbasar like the shawl with diraacs; that is wrapped around the shoulders or the head. Although when properly wrapped it covers properly, traditionally nothing is worn under the guntiino; not even underwear (yikes!) so its not for the faint-hearted or self-conscious. Also if you’re larger or taller you may find the fabric is not enough to wrap; but you can always be ingenious and experiment with more than one set.

    Bizarrely both shaash and guntiino are made not in Somalia or the gulf, but in Mumbai, India; but have traditional Indonesian designs; and the brand names are Arabic; the most popular brands being Abu Fares (father of the Horse!) and Abu Feel (father of the Elephant!). In previous times the married women in Somalia and also in some areas of Ethiopia would wear the shaash upon marriage to distinguish them as a married woman. Until the past 20 years or so it wasn’t common for unmarried women to cover their hair or head at all; and if they did it was usually with a thin filmy rectangular scarf called malqabad. The shaash is roughly akin to a bandana in size; maybe a little larger; and due to its waxy texture can be knotted in all kinds of crazy ways and it will just stick; some ladies even sew a hem on them (they are traditionally unhemmed and worn as it is) and stick wire through it so they can do waves and fan designs with it. Traditionally shaash always had block-printed or screen-printed batik designs as in the picture; but now you get tie-dyed ones, what I call 80s style ones with strange graphical designs on them, or even ones with jaunty designs similar to Italian designer scarves. Sequinned ones are really popular now; but I find them scratchy!

    Anyhoo back to the site InshaAllaah by Monday at the latest I hope to have another five diraacs up, this time in fabulous wrist-to-wrist chiffon, and satin fabrics. I have chosen synthetic; but superb quality breathable versions of these fabrics for the diraac itself; one for practicality and affordability purposes as the silk fabrics are very hard to care for especially the satins and fine chiffons yet cost far too much to be used one time only, two because its impossible to find pure silk fabrics in this width. The underskirts are in lingerie quality silky satins with beautiful trims and embroidery, and the shawls are in pure silk chiffon with intricate hand-done rhinestone, hotfix sequin and embroidery work. In addition on the necklines of these ones; not only will I be adding satin trim but embellishing it with carefully matched rhinestone work as well, to tone with all elements of the set. Stay tuned InshaAllaah!

  2. As salaamu alaikum
    Where is the shop in Jeddah? My friend that lives there hasn’t been able to locate it. Thanks,

    Umm Amiyr

  3. Yikes I only saw your post now Umm Amiyr; not sure if you’ll ever read this back but its in a Somali mall ‘Suhefah mall’ next to the Mercure hotel in Al-Kandarah district; it is NOT in the main shopping area in the city centre but a few miles from there.

    • Do you mean “where am I going to get the store number from?”…that would be correct…also…you cant. LOL. She shut her business down as evidenced by the fact her website and FB page are no longer available. Fi aman Allah

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