Islamabad ; Albana Planeja, wife of the ambassador of Italy to Islamabad paid a visit to the CAS School of Business in Rawalpindi. She visited the working area, met the artisans at work, watched the artisans busy designing and making dresses and especially the unique embroidery being manually created on the dresses.
She was impressed with the dress designs and the workmanship, especially of the embroiderers who were creating delicate designs and motifs on cloth before sending those to the stitching section. But she was more impressed with the efforts of the CAS School of Fashion to make women living below poverty line financially empowered by imparting skill training, enabling them to be able to earn on their own using the skills they were learning there.
Junaid Elahi, the chairman of the CAS School of Fashion said that he launched the brand in London, the United Kingdom towards the end of the year 2018 and soon after the whole world was gripped by COVID pandemic and everything comes to a standstill.
"Those were the hardest times, especially impacting lower middle and lower class segments of the society. We decided to launch this 'Fashion Bee' brand in Pakistan as it was significantly getting popular in the UK. We started from home initially in Bani Gala and as it proved to be becoming more and more popular we decided to shift to the present spot, which is more spacious and easy to access for the workmen, especially women of the adjacent village Shakrial," Junaid Elahi said.
He said that there were 8 trained artisans, all male, working at 'Fashion Bee' presently while there were 27 females under training in various sections including cutting, embroidery and stitching sections. "All these women belong to the families living below the poverty line from surrounding villages, especially from Shakrial. Before the current batch of trainees we have already trained three batches of women who are now working on their own or are employed elsewhere, earning a respectable living for themselves and their families," Junaid Elahi said.
Ms Hina, the 'media coordinator' for CAS School of Fashion and the brand 'Fashion Bee' said that it was a 'customer based' initiative which caters to the needs of clients who approach them for making exclusively designed attires for special events including weddings and the market is spread over Europe, America and Canada besides Pakistan. "Besides the eight male and two female skilled artisans working under this roof, we have five qualified female Fashion Designers and 5 academic teachers who create dress designs according to the requirements of the customers as well as train the new entrants in the field.
"There are two categories of training for the apprentices. One is three-month long and the other is of six-month duration. Most of the women who had successfully passed in the three batches are either working from home or have joined other outlets as trained cutters and stitchers, honourably earning living for themselves and their families and this is our objective which we wanted to achieve,"Ms Hina said.
Besides many distinguished guests, Naima Ansari, the former President of the Islamabad Women Chambers of Commerce and Industry, attended the reception held for Albana Planeja, wife of Italian ambassador.