The series of talks are designed to inform viewers on traditional Arab dress and adornment
Founder Dr. Reem Tariq El Mutwalli
First launched in 2018 by renowned author Dr. Reem Tariq El Mutwalli, The Zay Initiative, a UK registered non-profit organisation which celebrates the preservation of Arab heritage, has today launched a series of webinars on the art of Arab fashion.
"The idea is to engage the audience and introduce them to the field of Arab dress and adornment with a light and entertaining approach," says Dr. El Mutwalli. "To present a narrative that will inform and inspire the audience to support the work in this field and spread the word."
The webinars will be hosted through five series across the summer and fall seasons, prompting new discussions bimonthly. Dr. El Mutwalli calls The Zay Initiative her "passion project."
"I consider it my legacy, not only to preserve Arab cultural dress, but also to enlighten Arab women and the wider community to the wonderful world of traditional Arab dress," she expresses.
"The Zay Initiative is an ode to the past and a nod to the future. Aside from our growing collection, we are creating a digital archive and an index of the terms and terminology of vestments in the Arab world. Nothing substantial has been done in this field since the publication of the Dictionnaire détaillé des noms des vêtements chez les Arabes by Reinhart Dozy in 1845 and it will be available for free on a global platform."
The Zay Initiative educates on Arab culture and heritage through the collection and documentation of traditional costume, jewellery, ornaments and dress. With over three decades of experience in art and cultural heritage, Dr. El Mutwalli has garnered an impressive collection of historic pieces of dress overtime - over 1,350 pieces. Predominantly comprising the traditional UAE dress, the collection also features items from Yemen, Bahrain, Syria, Kuwait, Tunis, Morocco, Qatar, Oman, Saudi Arabi, Iraq, Egypt, Libya, Palestine, Sudan and Lebanon.
The webinar program is run by registration. "This way we thought we can better understand the participants and get to know them to create a community rather than just an audience," says Dr. El Mutwalli. "Again, to our delight the support has been overwhelming and people are showing it through their contributions."
Series No 1: Calendar:
6pm GST, 14 July 2020: “All Change - How Fashion's New Focus Will Reignite The Runway” by Lucy Wildman, fashion editor/stylist and consultant.
6pm GST, 28 July 2020: “Only Dead Fish Go With The Flow” by Sigrid van Roode, author/Arab jewellery expert.
6pm GST, 11 August 2020: “The Secret Life Of Syrian Lingerie” by Rana Salam, creative director/author.
6pm GST, 25 August 2020: “The Qurans And The Hijab: Fashion Or Faith?” by Samina Ali, author/curator and speaker.
For more details on the webinars and to register, click here.