SheWorks is a social enterprise working with skilled rural artisans in the craft of hand embroidery. These women are trained by organisations and through traditional skill transfer but lack opportunities to access the market. They draw their inspiration from traditional hand embroidery techniques and designs to create products for the contemporary market.
The hand embroidery techniques the artisans use are deeply rooted in the culture of South Punjab. It is an area rich in varied stitch traditions and ancient designs that are still used widely. In Pakistan, hundreds of thousands of people, largely women, participate in the artisan sector. For many, their livelihood depends on income earned from these activities. Yet, artisan enterprise is not generally considered a key driver of economic growth nor looked to as a major component of development assistance efforts. SheWork’s efforts revolve around supporting the local textile craft industry by encouraging and supporting designer and artisan collaboration to nurture the heritage craft tradition. They collaborate with skilled women artisans and take inspiration from the vast depth of cultural embroidery techniques and designs.
Artisans produce a line of modern, minimalistic styles in apparel, accessories and products for the home. The designs are simple and classic embroideries to draw attention to the handwork details. They collaborate with local and international fashion brands, executing their orders for hand embroidered products through the women artisans of South Punjab. They have also started creating a product line using the tradition of recycled products in rural Punjab, striving to create economic opportunities for communities working in the handmade traditional textile industry by providing design input and quality checks which leads to better market access. In an effort to bring lasting change and economic growth, they provide an integrated approach to design, product development, business skill training and market access following an eco friendly process with organisations who want to collaborate.
To further follow the story of SheWorks, find them on social media here.