Our Story

The Zarif collection is produced in Kabul, where we employ 52 local Afghan artisans, practicing the art of "slow production." We are able to source traditional fabrics from Afghanistan and Central Asia, the former “Silk Road,” fostering fair-trade practices and the use of natural dyes. Our tailors, seamstresses, embroiderers and weavers are given a place in which they can preserve their cultural traditions that are in danger of being replaced by mass produced commercial goods. Zarif provides a platform where traditional, high-quality craftsmanship is a source of economic opportunity and personal fulfillment. At its core, Zarif acts as an ambassador, sharing the rich cultural heritage of Afghanistan and its people with the rest of the world.

Founder/Director: Zolaykha Sherzad 

Founder: Zolaykha was born in Kabul, Afghanistan. At the age of 10 she left Afghanistan and became a political refugee in Switzerland. She graduated in 1994 from the School of Architecture in Lausanne and practiced as an architect for different companies in Switzerland, Japan and New York. From 1998 to 2004 she taught Design Studio at Pratt Institute School of Architecture in New York.

Determined to help and give back to her homeland, Zolaykha returned to Afghanistan in 2000 and founded “School of Hope – SoH” a non-profit organization sponsoring education in Afghanistan. SoH is now merged with School of Leadership for Afghanistan – SOLA: www.sola-afghanistan.org.

In 2005 she initiated Zarif Design working with Afghan women to revive traditional skills such as textile weaving and design. She has been working in Kabul with a group of 36 women and 16 men on developing the Zarif Design Center. www.zarifnyc.com or www.zarifdesign.com