Far & Wide Collective: made by hand with heart and soul
Hedvig Christine Alexander is passionate about Afghanistan. A former army captain, she spent seven years in Afghanistan working in international development. During her time in the region, Hedvig Christine saw how even the most talented craftswomen and men were unable to connect with buyers abroad. Consequently, they could not benefit from the increased demand for beautiful, authentic, and handmade items in recent years. To fill this need, she has founded Far & Wide Collective – a fairtrade platform, that partners with talented artisans in post-conflict and emerging economies, selling their items of home decor, jewelry and fashion via ecommerce. Far & Wide takes shoppers on a journey, giving them access to a rare selection of unique and high-quality products.
The power of crafts, says Hedvig, is they evoke thoughts of the exotic and far away. She says,
“Their authenticity is unparalleled as each handmade piece is uniquely linked to the artisan who created it. But in addition to producing beautiful pieces for your home, supporting the crafts industry will also make you feel great about buying. As the second largest employer after agriculture in developing countries, the crafts industry provides the opportunity for the millions of underprivileged to own their own successful business. These artisans, many of them women, were never given the opportunity to go to school and so, are illiterate. But, craft production requires only the skills that, in many families, are passed on from generation to generation. With the ever-growing demand for handmade crafts, there is hope yet, that these artisans will be able to provide their children with privilege of education.”
We are absolutely in love with these jackets from Zarif Design (Zarif means “precious” in Farsi); a unique fashion design business based in Kabul, Afghanistan. Designer and founder Zolaykha Sherzad, studied design in Europe and North America, offers a line of contemporary jackets which are original and timelessly stylish. Exquisite hand-embroidery and brightly coloured “chapan” material are combined to create practical and magnificently finished jackets for all occasions. They are all handmade in Kabul workshops, employing the intricate tailoring skills of Afghan men and women.