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AUE Fashion Design students Marwa Slil and Sauda Ahklad have been announced winners at the global fashion design competition, ZAY.

The Art of UAE Dress. Sauda won the ‘People’s Choice Award’, and Marwa was declared the winner of ‘The most Commendable Award’.

Date: November 29, 2021

As the UAE celebrates its Golden Jubilee this year, Hotel Indigo Dubai Downtown and The Zay Initiative invited designers from across the world to create their individual interpretation of the traditional Emirati dress - ‘Thawb’, with a modern touch, 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 by photographer Issa Saleh AlKindy. All designs were reviewed by a notable jury including Feryal Al Bastaki, Founder and Designer of Feryal Al Bastaki Fashion, Dr. Reem Tariq El Mutwalli, Founder (CEO) of 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.

The winners’ designs will now 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.

Marwa found her inspiration from the Indigo hotel, which is a mix of modernity and the past, and also in the traditional Emirati elements of the desert rose and lantern. The highlight of her black are the side panels which were created in applique technique with vibrant colors and varied fabrics and outlined with beads. The lantern-inspired sleeves were crafted from black organza with a touch of gold and agal.

Sauda’s outfit, titled ‘Ardawb’ (short for Arabian Modern Thawb) was inspired from the UAE culture such as Al Sadu fabric and Talli lace along with the Burqa worn traditionally by Bedouin women in the Emirati Society. The garment emphasizes the 4 colors of the UAE flag, with white as an overall color for the coat to symbolize the rich pearl diving history and the peace and harmony between various cultures that live in UAE. Among the contemporary elements, the collar was created to symbolize the strength and empowerment of Arabian women.

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