We recently shared the exciting news that Chloé is engaging refugee women to produce components that are incorporated into their products. Chloé is a French luxury brand known for ethical craftsmanship and free-spirited femininity and has recently become a certified B Corporation.
Starting with their ‘22 Spring/Summer collection, the Chloé x MADE51 collaboration is incorporating craftsmanship of Afghan refugee women into Chloé’s accessories range, including their iconic Marcie and Woodie handbags.
We talked to three of the artisans working on the Chloé order to better understand their perspectives on their work and the impact of the collaboration. We're pleased to be able to share their stories with you in a small three-part series. Part one is our interview with Gul*, a young Afghan refugee woman based in Peshawar.
*Gul's name has been changed to protect her privacy.
Q&A with Gul, Afghan refugee artisan in Pakistan
When did you come here and with who?
My name is Gul. I am eighteen years old. I am from Afghanistan. Both my parents belong to Afghanistan... My mother and father were very young when they came here. They got married here and we all born here in Pakistan. My parents got married in Kotli. Now, we live here in Peshawar.
What is your craft? How did you learn it?
I learnt at high school. I also learnt it from my mother, as she is expert in it, and then even from my grandmother. After I learnt, I was brought up here and then I learnt many more new things. I mean, a lot of things, like now I know how to do “Sheesha dozi’’, “Zanjeera” and “Pukhta dozi” embroidery.
Why is this work important to you?
The work is good. The atmosphere is good and modest... Also friends are good. It is difficult to find such good places. I mean, there can be no such good environment anywhere else like what we have here. I think we are fortunate to find this place.
[Normally], we are not allowed to work outside. My father first saw this place...and then allowed us to work here.
Yes, this work is from my homeland and I like it very much, from the core of my heart. I came here to master it.
Has being an artisan, and earning a living, empowered you & helped you support your family?
This place has a great benefit for me and it even fulfils the day to day needs of my family. The best thing is that--before my mother could find no medicine, she is a heart patient, and my sister is also sick--when I receive my salary from here I can buy them medicine. I even manage to pay my rent and the school fees of my sister and brother with my salary.
The embroidery you are working on will become part of a beautiful leather bag that will be available in many countries around the world. How does that make you feel?
I feel proud and happy, I mean very proud and pleased that people purchase the things I make with my hands. It also has benefits for me and my family. I feel very proud that the world buys my handmade things.
Is there a message you would like to send to the people who purchase these bags?
I would like to thank you all from the core of my heart for liking and buying the art and culture of Afghanistan. It helps our country develop and also it helps our culture flourish.