Abaya illustrations in yellow and navy

The Journey of Nanoabaya

VCU Arts Qatar design student Noor Butt created one of the most creative and innovative pieces of the year, the 'nanoabaya.' It made headlines when former English football player David Beckham and Maha Al-Ansari, a female Qatari Boxer selected it to be displayed in Mshereib design district and when Her Highness Sheikha Moza wore it during Qatar's National Sports Day. 

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Working as a Physics Research assistant allowed me to be creative in my field of design and made me realize that there is so much more than just designing clothes. The idea of creating the “nanoabaya” started when the project of “Sports Abaya” was announced to Senior, and Junior Fashion Design students at VCUarts Qatar. The time frame to design the sports abaya was very limited, and in a matter of just two days, I designed five sports abayas with three color variations, and that is the time I knew that I could best combine science and Art. The Nanoabaya designs were later selected by the former English football player David Beckham and Maha Al-Ansari, a female Qatari Boxer. 

abaya illustrations
abaya illustrations in pink and black
abaya illustrations in yellow and black
Abaya illustrations in yellow and navy

Before the production of the “nanoabaya”, the fabric was first treated with nanotechnology, which was based on Dr Khaled Saoud's, a physics professor at VCUarts Qatar, research about UVB absorption, self-cleaning, and anti-bacterial. Additionally, to develop the right formula for thermal insulation, it took over six months of trial and error to perfect the formula and finally use it for the “nanoabaya.” This was a project overseen by Dr Khaled Saoud and Christopher Fink, Chair of Fashion Design at VCUarts Qatar.

Fabric in a plastic plate

A total of 24 panels were treated in the Physics lab for each abaya. The process of treating the fabrics took about four days. Later the abaya was stitched by VCUarts Master Tailor Mr. Sultan Abdul Khader. The “nanoabaya” does not have one but various properties, such as absorbing vitamin D-rich light and blocking the sun’s harmful rays in extreme summer climates and having thermal insulating properties. Additionally, the “nanoabaya” has anti-bacterial, self-cleaning/ water-repellant properties.

hanginging fabrics with steamer
green fabric

On Qatar’s National Sports Day Her Highness Sheikha Moza is pictured wearing the “Nanoabaya

Sheikha Moza in nanoabaya

Noor Butt, VCU Fashion Student, 2023

noor but
David bekham with noor but