By UFFP editor Fériel Berraies Guigny
Photos Stéphane Tourné
Ayesha Raza at the Dakar Fashion Week 2012
texte courtesy UFFP no reproduction allowed. Toute reproduction interdite
Ayesha Hashim Raza is a pakistani designer we had the pleasure to meet during Dakar Fashion Week. A beautiful, talented and committed designer who uses her designs for ethical purposes. Based in Dallas Texas, her main forté remains pakistani clothes but it is more focused on embroideries, handwork and modern cuts. UFFP unveils her story.
Tell us about Ayesha women ? well it is a bold woman who has no boundaries and limitations. I like the idea of a strong and free woman who knows what she wants out of life.
Tell us about the designs? most of our designs are custom made, whatever the client has in mind, the brand delivers it in person.
What is your approach on ethical and couture that creates sustainable development ? what UFFP does is an awewome effort and is totally commandable ! I totally agree with that because i can see that all over the world we tend to forget tradition and handwork, we must never forget our roots. Culture and tradition are important, what I do in my designs is bring out old forms of culture in our art, its a new way to preserve our identity. I believe in restoring old forms, promote the old and yet present it in a new way.
Ayesha Raza, is a mix of cultures west and east ? yes definitely, through cuts we do that, the motifs that we use the embelishment is part of our heritage, but the western touch comes from the cuts.
But your brand is also socially orientated? yes I give employment to women in difficulties, with
Sos religion in Pakistan, it is an association that takes cares of women, children and vulnerable categories. The women work for me, and each proceeds we get, we donate back to them.
Production is local? yes all my production is done in Pakistan. I fancy using chiffons, silks, i like fluid materials. For my ready to wear collection i can use cotton as well. I do collections for women and kids but i m soon launching my men’s collection as well.
Accessories ? well for now i like designing jewellery, i like semi precious stones.
Africa, your impression ? i was very excited to be part of this adventure, this is my second time in Senegal thanks to Adama. Africa is more or less like Pakistan, it is getting developed more and more.
The arab awakening in these past few months opened a window of hope, yet today women are still in danger, what is your input ? it is sad for women and children when they are victims of political movements. Women and children should be the first to be protected. In Pakistan, women are still subjected of things they should not be. Obviously i m not happy of the situation, things should evolve for the best
Women can be the solution? definitely, we should empower them more, give them more rights, they can definetely bring a change. When one can trust women and kids, then why not the whole world ?!
Ayesha Hashim Raza, the brand that empowers women
Ayesha H Raza new collection is titled « Haathkaari », meaning handwork in Urdu. It aims at reviving the old craft of Woodblock printing, a technique for printing images or patterns used widely throughout East Asia and originating in China.
The wood block is carefully prepared as a relief matrix, which means the areas to show ‘white’ are cut away with a knife, chisel, or sandpaper leaving the characters or image to show in ‘black’ at the original surface level. The block is cut along the grain of the wood. It is only necessary to ink the block and bring it into firm and even contact with the cloth to achieve an acceptable print.
This line will be made, using pure chiffon fabric and Anchor embroidery threads. The aim of this collection, is not only to revive this age old craft but also empower under privileged women, being employed for their hand embroidery skills. The proceeds from this particular collection will go towards these crafts women giving them a means to earn their livelihood, without stepping outside the perimeter of their homes.