Chance to design traditional Emirati outfits with a modern twist


Hotel Indigo Dubai Downtown has partnered with The Zay Initiative, a non-profit organisation that celebrates the preservation of Arab heritage, to launch an international design competition, ‘Zay – The Art of UAE Dress’. 
The global competition will give aspiring designers the opportunity to design a traditional Emirati dress with a modern twist and have their winning designs be part of The Zay Initiative’s permanent collection of Arab historical attire.
As the UAE celebrates its Golden Jubilee this year, the Dubai hotel and the UK-registered Zay Initiative have invited designers from across the world to draw on three UAE traditional outfits, inspired by Hotel Indigo Dubai Downtown’s art and interior design and The ‘Sofa Series’ – a limited edition art prints time capsule, created in 2019. 
The Sofa Series capsule showcases the UAE’s cultural heritage through its dress-prints, to create their individual interpretation of the traditional Emirati dress - ‘Thawb’, with a modern touch.
Talking about the initiative, Hotel Indigo Dubai Downtown General Manager Laura Eggleton said: “We believe that it is essential to preserve and accurately portray the intangible cultural heritage of the UAE and sustain global cross-cultural dialogue to inspire creative minds.
"Through this competition, we, along with The Zay Initiative, aim to shed light on the traditional clothing of the Emirati woman, whilst giving a platform for emerging designers to showcase their creative flair.  
"This competition aims to reach audiences across the globe, allowing people to explore and discover the allure of UAE culture and give participants an opportunity to be a part of the historical journey as the UAE celebrates its 50th anniversary.”
To enter the contest, participants must submit the sketches of their designed Thawb along with a written concept or a video clip that explains their thought process behind the design by September 28, 2021. 
All designs will be reviewed by a jury including Feryal Al Bastaki, Founder and Designer of Feryal Al Bastaki Fashion, Dr Reem Tariq El Mutwalli, Founder (CEO) of the The Zay Initiative, Patricia Millns, Fellow of Royal Society of Arts (FRSA) and Creative Advisor at The Zay Initiative and Astrid Lesuisse, Art Manager at Hotel Indigo Dubai Downtown, among others.
The jury will then shortlist five finalists who will have the opportunity to bring their winning designs to life and display their works at a fashion exhibition at Hotel Indigo Dubai Downtown from November 2 to December 31, 2021. 
Each winning design will then be part of The Zay Initiative’s permanent collection online, where they collect, document, conserve and exhibit traditional Emirati attire and their stories for global viewing.
September 28: Deadline to submit the sketch and concept note
October 12: Applicants to be notified about their result (Contact the hotel if notification not received by this date at
November 1: Qualified participants to submit their final wearable dress to
Hotel Indigo Dubai Downtown, Marasi Drive, Dubai, UAE.
November 2: Exhibition showcasing the finalists’ dresses
November 28: Press-covered ceremony and awards jury
December 31: Last day of exhibition.

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