Instep Today

Huma Adnan and UNHCR highlight talent with ‘Craft Stories’

By Shahjehan Saleem
Wed, 03, 19

The designer showcased a collection of ethnic jewelry handcrafted by Afghan refugee women in Karachi…

After collaborating with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) last year, designer Huma Adnan has been constantly working with refugee men and women in Karachi in the hope to economically empower them. Earlier this week she – in partnership with the UNHCR - hosted a fashion show to unveil her latest collection for the project.

Unveiled at the designer’s home on Monday, the collection – which was inspired by the bustle and energy of the city’s old Manora Island, featured handcrafted bangles, earrings and necklaces. It also represented the unique and intricate design work of the refugees who belong to different ethnicities that have made Pakistan their home.

An advocate for representing Pakistan’s heritage and culture, the designer integrated these distinctive accessories with her latest FnkAsia collection, which she talked about with Instep at the event.

“I am really thankful to the people who came in the support of refugees. It is a great feeling to see that people have heart and want to see what the refugees have made,” the designer told Instep. “The audience has given great feedback on the collection and are looking forward to buying it soon. Some of them came up to me and asked when it would be available. I am also really happy that women who have worked on it are so excited to see people wearing it.”

To create this collection, the designer also explained how her team provided training and imported high-quality raw material to selected women residing at refugee camps at Karachi’s Al-Asif Square in order for them to handcraft these unique and intricate pieces. From choosing colours, designs, threads, and motifs to deciding on schemes and crafting techniques, Huma’s team created a prototype for the artisans and used to train and then handover the task to them to take care of. Three of these women worked as supervisors at the camps after getting extensive training.

“We as fashion influencers are blessed to be given a platform and resources that can easily create awareness and provide long-term sustainability solutions for people,” shared Huma of her philosophy about working with the less-privileged and to sustain themselves financially.

Present at Huma’s solo show were also the UNHCR representatives in Pakistan, Ruvendrini Menikdiwela, Muhammad Riaz, Karolin Elisabeth Eberle, Uzma Irum and Urooj Saifi, who along with U.S Consulate members such as Darian Arky, came to support the refugee women and the initiative.

Speaking on the occasion, UNHCR representative in Pakistan, Ruvendrini Menikdiwela also praised the efforts by Huma Adnan and the women who crafted the accessories.

“For us this event has been really huge because for the first time a prominent leader of the fashion world has come together with UNHCR to help the refugee women to become independent, and to earn a living by not just being domestic helpers or garbage collectors but actually have a dignified job,” she told Instep.

Also featured at the show was an installation of images that conveyed the overall feel of the night, where black and white images of models, dressed in statement jewelry, were displayed. The face of the installation, Maha Tahirani, was photographed by Shahbaz Shazi, and styled by Tabesh Khoja, with hair and make-up done by Nabila’s Salon. The show was directed by Frieha Altaf.