Muscat: Five types of dishdasha – Oman’s male national attire - have been approved by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, in a bid to protect the Omani identity and prevent additions being introduced to the national dress.
The Common dishdasha, Buraimi, Abu, Shaq, Suri and Bedouin, are the five types approved by the ministry. Acting on Article Three of Ministerial Decision 270/2015, which states that “it is not permitted to import or design traditional Omani attire or compromise or adjust it, which could harm the Omani identity”, the ministry imposed specific standards that dishdasha tailors must follow.
Nadia Al Siyabi, Head of the Department of Chemical Products Standardisation at the Directorate General of Standardisation and Metrology, MoCI, said that the implementing the standards will “enhance Omani product quality, which increases consumers’ faith in Omani products, as well as tackle the increase in demand, which poses a positive impact on other sectors,” adding that it will “create more job opportunities, raise the living quality of workers, improve trade and contribute to the national economy.”
Al Siyabi explained that the standards are in place for each type of dishdasha, such as the type of fabric used, the main parts of the dishdasha, as well as other embroideries and requirements, to assure the national attire meets all requirements.
When asked why there were restrictions on the type of fabric used, Al Siyabi said, “The type of fabric is suggested for each type of Omani dishdasha, however, the consumer is free to choose which fabric he wants for his attire. The standardisation of the dishdasha is specific to the design.”
She went on to explain, “For instance, the commonly worn dishdasha was suggested to be made from a cotton base fabric. It is permitted to used a mix of cotton and polyester, as well as wool, and the embroideries are made with cotton strings. The Buriami dishdasha, on the other hand, should be made from cotton, and other fabrics could be used, as long as they’re plain.”
She added that the Abu Shaq dishdasha can be made of any fabric, since it is tailored by machine, however, the Suri dishdasha must be made from a light fabric, because “it is hand tailored until this day.”
Omani dishdashas are known to be made in different shades of colours, and when asked if there will be some limitations on the colours used, Al Siyabi said, “White is the colour used most of the time and it is permitted to use different colors, as long as the dishdasha is plain.”
An Omani national, Nasser, who is originally from Sur, said that it is a good idea to preserve the Omani heritage and identity.
“I, personally, don’t wear the Suri dishdasha; it’s too light. However, it is a traditional dishdasha for people of that city, and having it as one of the main dishdashas to identify you as an Omani is a privilege that must be protected.”
Another national, who requested to remain anonymous, said that protecting the Omani dishdasha will help in curbing attempts to “customise” the national attire.
“There are people who tailor their dishdashas in ways that make you question the legitimacy of our national dress. Making a standard specification for the dishdasha will help curb these types of acts,” said the national. Implementation of the rule has not been determined, as it is still in process.