The Region’s First Historical Fashion Resource Is About To Launch

BY Rohma Theunissen / Sep 17 2019 / 14:26 PM

The digital archive will feature over 700 pieces of traditional Arab attire

The Region’s First Historical Fashion Resource Is About To Launch

Home to some of the world’s most rapidly developing economies, Middle Eastern culture and society has experienced unprecedented changes in recent times; changes which have been graciously embraced by the local population. In these fast-changing times, entities such as The Zay Initiative have become indispensable cultural treasures.

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The contemporary Abaya is no longer plain and just functional as it once was. Still modest and conservative it is appealing to designers east and west. A black, long-sleeved, robe-like overgarment that women wear to cover their entire body baring the head, requiring a veil to cover the head and upper body, in time is starting to acquire a newfound fashion appeal. Where many modern abayas are either trimmed with elaborate decorative elements, made out of colored fabrics, or cut in various styles. Some of them are even designed to look like dresses. Becoming a symbol to convey individual taste as well as status. #fashion#middleeast #dubai #uae #travel #mydubai #abudhabi #jordan #oman #love #kuwait #israel #lebanon #egypt #europe #dxb #photography#instagram #instagood #arab #travelgram #qatar #ksa #follow#fashionpolice#modernera

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Founded by Dr. Reem Tariq El Mutwalli, The Zay Initiative is a unique, non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of Arab heritage through the documentation and conservation of traditional clothing from the MENA region. Boasting a collection of over 700 articles of traditional clothing items dating all the way back to the 1950’s, The Zay Initiative’s archives document the socio-economic changes in the region from the pre-oil era all the way through to today.

Starting October 2019, The Zay Initiative will be launching its digital archive, a free-of-charge portal that will allow people to browse the organization’s extensive collection, thereby launching the region’s first historical fashion resource for research, reference and academia. Supported by a monthly blog, the digital archive seeks to create a public platform that bridges cultures, embraces regional heritage and fosters dialogue between the public and Zay's expert advisory circle.

The digital archive will be accessible through the organization's website: