Zolaykha Sherzad Resurrects Traditional Afghan Crafts Via Modern Fashion Design

Zolaykha Sherzad afghan fashionZolaykha Sherzad revives Afghan artistic culture and trains women with her Zarif Design company in Kabul.

Fashion can be environmentally friendly in a few ways.  Green-ifying your outfit can be as simple as obtaining it from your local second-hand store, or using eco-friendly detergents and cold water to wash it.  Alternatively, it can mean that your clothes are made from organic and sustainably produced materials, or that the designer who made your clothes created them out of recycled fabrics (a la Ziad Ghanem).  For Zolaykha Sherzad, fashion is a local, handmade (and therefore low carbon-emission) endeavor and this can be seen in her Zarif Design company in Kabul, Afghanistan.

Zarif Design, which means “precious” or “fine” in Dari, aims at “using traditional Afghan fabrics and custom wear to render elegant modern designs”.  In short, the company hopes to bring back traditional Afghan methods of textile production by making them palatable to a modern aesthetic.

Zolaykha Sherzad[image via: Reuters]

Keeping the project strictly local, the collections are all designed and produced in Kabul, made by local Afghan women, and made with fabrics original to Afghanistan.

Zolaykha Sherzad

As Zarif Design eloquently explains, the company hopes to restore cultural heritage that has been lost in the recent past due to war and conflict.  In Zarif Design’s own words,

“Afghanistan’s unique identity and culture has been greatly afflicted as a result of twenty-three years of war and conflict. A significant number of artisans and their centuries-old traditions have disappeared or are in danger of being lost. “Zarif Design” demonstrates the tremendous possibilities of intersecting new creative designs with these time-honored arts to satisfy contemporary taste. While promoting cultural preservation, this endeavor also provides a platform where traditional and high quality Afghan craft becomes a source of economic development.”

On a more global level, Zarif Design helps share Afghanistan’s rich cultural heritage with the world.

:: Zarif Design

Read more about environmentally friendly fashion::
Lebanese Designer Ziad Ghanem Creates Recycled Couture
Keep Things Sexy More Energy Efficiently with Delta Galil Underwear
The Bedouin Ladies of Lakia Weave Together Women and Tradition

About Karen Chernick

Much to the disappointment of her Moroccan grandmother, Karen became a vegetarian at the age of seven because of a heartfelt respect for other forms of life.She also began her journey to understand her surroundings and her impact on the environment.She even starting an elementary school Ecology Club and an environmental newsletter in the 3rd grade. (The proceeds of the newsletter went to non-profit environmental organizations, of course.) She now studies in New York.Karen can be reached at karen (at) greenprophet (dot) com.

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