Yazemin: Europe meets Afghanistan
Earlier this year Sarai Jasmin travelled to Afghanistan to conduct a Design & Pattern workshop with women in Fayzabad (north of Afghanistan). The workshop was held at a Womens Centre founded by her mother Karin Struck to train the women in tailoring. The ongoing project is aimed at women who have to support themselves and their families. At the end of their 6 months training the women are gifted the sewing machines to help them apply their skills in their homes and possibly start their own business.
Afghanistan has shown Sarai another untold story of Afghan life & women and as a result this Collection was made under the newly founded name "Yazemin". The theme of this collection is "Europe meets Afghanistan". The Collection is very colourful and busy just as Afghan daily life. During her visit Sarai found that whilst Afghanistan is often portrait as a sad and hopeless place the people reflect a different attitude, living a simple life well and often naturally getting their priorities right. Driving through the north of the country, back to Kabul, Sarai got the opportunity to see some of the beauty of the country completely at odds with the many media images of barren, dusty landscapes.
Sarai's Collection has partly been produced by the women in Fayzabad and has been inspired by her visit and impressions during her time in Kabul and Fayzabad. The handwoven Silk is from Azezana Kabul, a Womens Project and has travelled from Herat to Kabul to then be woven by the women. Most other materials & cloths are from the Bazaar in Kabul and Fayzabad.
The garments and some of the cuts are inspired by her visit, the clothes are very wearable while reflecting aspects of Afghan fashion and living.The skirt of the Burkah dress is made from cut off Burkahs which should not be taken as a rebellious act against women covering up, but rather as a different way of utilising the materials available. Like so many things in Afghanistan, improvisation is important as basic european living standarts do not exist in rural areas. The layering also reflects how women dress in Afghanistan, wearing layers of clothing to cover up as well as the Burkah on top of their outfit.
The burkha is the inspiration for many of the pieces in the Yazemin Collection. The pleated back trouser with the short/long shirt looks very conventional from the front but very different and busy at the back, the pleats reflect the pleated fabric of the burkah. The shirt, which is worn on top is long at the front & long at the back which again is reflecting the Burkah which is usually short in the front & long at the back. It can also be seen as a translation into daily life. In many situations the rules of how to behave, especially for women, can be very faceless but under their Burkahs and away from the public eye there are lovely, funny and creative women living "normal" lives.
Due to strict dress codes not all pieces can be worn by Afghan women in public but can be worn in combination, to special occasions and parties attended only by women. The pieces are very versatile and wearable and are a reflection of " Europe meets Afghanistan".