Just before Eid, a new boutique of ethnic wear has joined the clothing stores in Kings Arcade at Jinnah Super Market.
The opening exhibition comprises cotton and chiffon ready-to-wear hand-embroidered outfits at very reasonable rates. The store launch was the culmination of the efforts of SAARC Business Association for Home-based Workers (SABAH).
SABAH is a non-profit organisation (NPO) that seeks to build capacity amongst lower-income Pakistani women through home-based worker programmes and training initiatives.
Focusing primarily on women, the organisation also provides a small platform for men to exhibit their work. Women from Haripur, Tharparkar, Sukkur, Gari Habibullah, Abbottabad and far-flung villages from across Pakistan have sent their merchandise to the NPO.
Designers like Hassan Shehryar Yasin (HSY), Deepak Perwani and Nickie Nina have helped design the collections. Earlier this year, SABAH joined forces with HSY on his finale collection for the third Pakistan Fashion Design Council Sunsilk Fashion Week, in Lahore in April.
With an in-house team of young designers, the ready-to-wear apparel at SABAH is not only trendy and affordable but is designed to suit a variety of tastes.
SABAH has around 500 members providing craft services in not only the apparel sector, but also home furnishing and decorative items.
To take their talent and services a notch up, the NPO has hired designers to infuse the merchandise with trendiness.
The organisation was formally launched in November 2009 and at the time there were 160 female home-based artisan members, said a press handout.
Over the past two years, the membership has grown to almost 600, many of whom had no market access for their skills or knew the full value of what they produced before joining SABAH.
The organisation also works in Nepal and plans to start operations in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 25th, 2011.