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Dr Reem El Mutwalli in conversation with Cassidy Zachary, Fashion Historian & Co-Host/ Creator, Dressed: The History of Fashion

Happy New Year! With the onset of 2021 the Zay Initiative will continue to sustain the legacy of Arab dress and dispel misconceptions. We are delighted to announce our inaugural webinar in our 4th webinar series is on 19th January 2021, the host roles will be reversed and our Founder, Dr Reem El Mutwalli will be interviewed by our guest speaker (based in New Mexico), Cassidy Zachary, Fashion Historian, to discuss the founding of the Zay Initiative – its digital archive and Collection of historic Arab dress, the art of Arab dress and how “fashion” is perceived today.

The Zay Initiative aims to promote an understanding of the evolution of regional culture, building up public awareness and appreciation of this unique heritage, reaching out to like-minded individuals and institutions nationally, regionally and globally. In addition to seasonal or touring exhibitions and museum loans, the collection is accessed through the digital archive (Collection), first of its kind on a regional level, fortified by a pop-up glossary in both Arabic and English. The Zay Initiative aims to empower women regionally and globally by bringing their untold stories to life.

The Five Pillars of the Zay Initiative are: • Collect, document and conserve Arab dress and adornment.• Present and contextualise through a digital archive and blog.• Encourage intercultural dialogue to highlight our shared humanity.• Inspire and educate designers to create for a sustainable future.• Empower women regionally and globally by bringing their untold stories to life.

Cassidy is a fashion historian who lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where she has also worked as a costumer and costume designer in film and television for twelve plus years. Cassidy is the co-author of Fashion and the Art of Pochoir (Thames & Hudson, 2015) and a contributing author to numerous publications including the recent The Showgirl Costume (McFarland 2019). She is the co-host and creator of the weekly iHeartRadio podcast Dressed: The History of Fashion and the founder of the popular fashion history blog and Instagram, The Art of Dress. She is currently pursuing her PhD in History at the University of New Mexico.

Dr Reem Tariq El Mutwalli, is a published author, lead curator and public speaker. With over 30 years of experience, she is an expert consultant in Islamic art and architecture, interior design, historic dress and UAE heritage.

She is also the founder of the Zay Initiative. A non-profit UK registered initiative advancing the preservation of cultural heritage, through the collection, documentation and digital archiving of Arab historical attire and their stories. Our goal is to empower and sustain global cross cultural dialogue to inspire creative minds.

Raised in the Middle East, educated in the UK, Emma has a profound understanding and passion for bridging gaps regarding culture and business, whilst navigating geo-political environments.

Emma is a highly motivated, award winning, experienced project leader, communications and business development professional with over 15 years’ experience.

As the Festival Director of Dubai Lynx from 2011 to 2016, she strategically grew the event and left a legacy, building the foundations that sees the festival thrive across multiple markets today. Now an entrepreneur and mother, Emma set up ‘Chameleon’, helping businesses reach their potential whilst ensuring they do better for good.

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