ITC Colloquies presented ‘Clothing & The Vernacular’- a talk by architect and experience designer Zain Mustafa.
Studying vernacular clothing is a compelling exploration into the intricate tapestry of culture and climate, an endeavor that Zain Mustafa, the distinguished architect and educationist, has passionately delved into. By deciphering the nuanced language of attire rooted in local traditions, one unravels the rich narrative of a community’s history, reflecting its ethos and values. Mustafa’s commitment to this cause extends beyond theoretical discourse; as evidenced by his talk at Imperial Tutorial College, he advocates for a deep understanding of vernacular clothing.
The significance of such studies becomes particularly pronounced when considering the profound impact of climate and culture on clothing. Climate, with its varying temperatures and environmental conditions, shapes the practicality and functionality of garments. In regions with extreme weather patterns, clothing serves not only as an expression of identity but also as a functional shield against the elements. Mustafa’s emphasis on bio-regional shared history underscores the interconnectedness of culture and geography in defining sartorial choices.
Moreover, culture weaves its essence into the fabric of clothing, telling stories of heritage, traditions, and societal norms. Vernacular clothing, in this context, serves as a living testament to the adaptive nature of human societies, evolving in harmony with local customs and beliefs. Mustafa’s work with Cube Edutours, connecting heritage sites across Pakistan, embodies the realization that clothing is more than a mere garment—it is a cultural artifact, a vessel carrying the collective memory of a community. In understanding and appreciating vernacular clothing, one not only embraces diversity but also fosters a profound respect for the dynamic interplay of climate and culture in shaping our sartorial choices.
Zain Mustafa is an architect and educationist based in Islamabad currently. He is also the founder of Cube Edutours – a unique heritage architecture education tourism initiative, taking learning about bio-regional shared history to heritage sites across Pakistan. An animal rights activist and empath, he is the President of SPAR and has designed the concept for the Karachi Zoo Revamp program.
The talk took place on September 13, 2021 at the ITC Auditorium at 2pm and it was open to ITC students and faculty.