Did you have a favourite doll as a child? Did you immerse yourselves in fantasy stories of far away places, your doll as your friend and comrade through fascinating and fun adventures. Perhaps you made accessories and clothes for your doll, from scraps and offcuts lying about the home. With the motto “A stitch against waste. A stitch for freedom”, the dolls made by social enterprise SilaiWali are no different.
Image: Silaiwali, Frida Mom and Child
Based in New Delhi, the enterprise of Afghan women refugees use up-cycled waste fabric from clothing manufacturers to create hand-crafted dolls, addressing some of the world’s most pressing problems in the process — waste from textile industry and the livelihood of displaced individuals. The women sew and embroider by hand, bringing craftsmanship and inspiration from their homeland to create beautiful dolls.
Each SilaiWali doll tells a story. Their bodies are made of cotton canvas with colours of skin of different hues to celebrate cultural diversity. Dressed in embroidered cotton tunics, chambray dresses or indigo kaftans, the prints and natural materials celebrate Afghan culture and heritage. Far from stereotypical pink princess dolls, these are doll-women of the world.
Image: Silawali, Souma Mom and Child
Whether it’s turning waste into beautiful products, or giving purpose to these displaced women’s incredible talents, the message of SilaiWali dolls is hope. Many of us cannot hope to affect news headlines, but through thoughtful actions and using our purchase power, we can have a great impact on the lives of people living in those stories.
Find out more about SilaiWali on their Selvedge World Fair artisan page.
View the full collection of SilaiWali dolls here.