Zolaykha Sherzad (Afghanistan)
Born in Kabul, Afghanistan, Zolaykha Sherzad was forced to flee her country at the age of ten, during the Soviet invasion, and sought political asylum in Switzerland, where she grew up and graduated from the School of Architecture in Lausanne. After practicing as an architect in Switzerland, Japan, and New York, she returned to Afghanistan to help rebuild her war homeland. She founded Zarif Design in 2005 —a Kabul-based atelier that works with Afghan female and male tailors, embroiderers, weavers and dyers to revive and maintain the traditional textile methods and techniques that were at risk of being lost due to the country’s ongoing conflict. Using her background in architecture and design, Zolaykha created a fashion line that merges tradition with contemporary style, and seeks to bridge the cultural gap between east and west. By attending the Summit, Zolaykha is looking forward to connecting with new markets, artisans, and redefine brand positioning and PR to ensure the sustainability of the company.