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Posted On: 11 October 2016 02:50 pm
Updated On: 12 November 2020 02:16 pm

Oola: A new revolutionary brand providing modest sportswear for women in Doha

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Imagine that you’re a woman who wears hijab and you’re going biking in Europe. Now picture this; layer one: long pants and a long sleeved-shirt. Layer two: cycling shorts and a cycling jersey. Layer three: a short, loose skirt worn over the cycling shorts. On the head: a buff to keep hair contained, coupled with an infinity scarf, and finally the helmet.

This is a real-life experience from Haya Al-Ghanim, Cofounder and CEO of Oola Sportswear, a company that was founded last year in 2015. Oola officially launched their collection today, October 9, 2016.

ScreenImage source: Oola_sports

Al-Ghanim, 31, shared that layering clothing in this way hinders her performance and comfort. All pieces of clothing, that she planned ahead to wear, for her biking excursion were necessary.

But Al-Ghanim’s love for cycling and desire to be covered and modest, motivated her to endure the discomfort and rather funny-looking appearance. It also led to her come up with a viable solution to make outdoor sports more accessible to women.


Along with two other cofounders, Amina Ahmadi and Lilian Barbosa, Al-Ghanim started Oola Sportswear, which in Arabic means “the first”, in order to help women who both dress conservatively and like to dress comfortably.

According to Al-Ghanim, she wasn’t the only one struggling with finding the right sports outfit. Her fellow cofounder Ahmadi, who is also the Design and Product Development Director, also felt the same way. The two of them started discussing their dream outdoor gear in a tent on Mount Kilimanjaro, while they were on a hiking trip.

ScreenImage source: Oola_sports

“We dreamt of something loose-fitting and not revealing, yet contemporary and elegant. It also has to be made of the right sports fabrics with the technical specifications we needed,” Al-Ghanim said. “That's why we created Oola; believing every woman is a pioneer in her own life. We want all women to find the outdoor experience that leads them to life balance and joy.”

A new market for women’s athletic wear

The reason for Oola Sportswear’s existence is simple. The current market for athletic clothing doesn’t really cater for women who dress more conservatively, nor does it cater to their style or preferences.

“Personally, I wear Hijab and I prefer to be covered,” Al-Ghanim said. “Our designs also appealed to women who do not wear Hijab, but still want to wear loose-fitting sportswear at the gym or outdoors.”

unnamedImage source: Oola_sports

Al Ghanim added that Oola Sportswear is not specifically targeted at women who cover their hair, but all women who seek to dress for comfort rather than appearance.

“Frequent travelers also saw the benefit of such activewear due to the comfortable design and special fabrics they’re made of,” Al-Ghanim said.


Outdoor activities are always a more fun and exciting way to maintain health and wellness, and everyone should be able to experience that. Al-Ghanim shared that she, and her friends, found balance in their lives after prioritizing their health.

“We also realize there are a lot of other women in need for this life balance and clothes should never be a struggle,” said Al-Ghanim. “We are inspired by all of those hardworking women and we founded Oola for the pioneer in them.”

Current collection and materials used

Oola Sportswear’s collection currently includes various head covers, pants, jackets, multi-sport tops and hiking tops. They’re made of sports fabrics and designed to be stylish so they can be worn at the park, for traveling, or even for after-workout coffee.

Al-Ghanim also provided more details about Oola’s head covers, which can be worn in many different ways.

ScreenImage source: Oola_sports

“Our head covers utilize snaps for an elegant touch and functionality,” Al-Ghanim said. “They are carefully designed to follow the head shape making sure they cover the ears and we made them extra roomy for the hair. This way I can go for a jog without having to adjust my head cover constantly.”

The fabric used to make Oola’s athletic wear is breathable, some of the fabric is even water-repellant. Their tops and pants have sweat wicking and quick dry features.


Fatima Alkhater, a 27-year-old Qatari woman working as an M&E officer for Alfakhoora program in Education Above All, had tried on Oola’s clothing during a run she participated in with a group called “Run For Your Life!” Alkhater shared that she was happy with the clothes as they were comfortable and covering.

“The weather was still hot and I wore long sleeves but since the fabric was light the heat was manageable,” Alkhater said. “I know a lot of women who would love to run, hike or bike but can't because they can't find anything appropriate.”

Image source: Oola_sports

The headscarf Alkhater was wearing on the run kept slipping off, and she kept having to readjust it. She wished that she had worn the Oola headscarf instead.

In order to get a better understanding of how women would feel wearing Oola’s activewear, Al-Ghanim, and the other cofounders, went through a very rigorous process of researching, sketching and prototyping until they reached their first collection and tested the garments in racing conditions.

“Every woman who tried on Oola outfits immediately realized she no longer needs to compromise or miss out on outdoor activities due to the lack of suitable outfits,” Al-Ghanim said. “Getting this confidence and trust from women trying outdoor sports for the first time is a great testimony we are honored to have.”

Building a women’s fitness community

Al-Ghanim spoke about building a community that supports women’s fitness.

unnamedImage source: Oola

“I believe in bottom-up community initiatives with clear goals and tangible results,” Al-Ghanim said. “An example of such community is Run for Your Life! group that consists of brave women who wanted to try out running, but they are also committed to excel in their motherhood, career and self-development.”

The women who are in the Run For Your Life! group follow the same training schedule on their own time with the goal to meet at organized races and participate. They would then gather to also celebrate their achievements.

Oola would love to hear from women interested in trying out their outfits. Follow them on Facebook (@oolasports), Twitter (@oola_sports) and Instagram (oola_sports) and sign up for their news on for updates on their launch!

What do you think? Interested in their brand and clothing? Comment below!