The Zay Initiative: the digital archive built to preserve Arab heritage
There’s an argument that fast fashion (and even faster Instagram swipes) has diminished the creative impact that fashion has as a cultural art form. In fact, few of us rarely take the time to appreciate and understanding of how our aesthetic choices actual impact and reflect the culture that surrounds us – and, before we know it, we’re on to the next thing.
Hoping to preserve this element of Arab culture is The Zay Initiative. Launching this month, the unique, non-profit organization is 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 1950s, The Zay Initiative’s digital archives document the socio-economic changes in the region from the pre-oil era all the way through to today.
Founded by Dr. Reem Tariq El Mutwalli, the free-of-charge online portal 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.
In these fast-changing times, entities such as The Zay Initiative have become indispensable cultural treasures.