A.N.D. Some Exciting News to Announce

We’ve brewed up a brand new partnership - along with a fresh batch of beautiful artisanal wares - just for you.

 

On our last trip to Cambodia we had the good fortune of meeting Alan Flux, one of the co-founders of A.N.D ArtisanandDesigner (a Cambodian fair trade brand that blends elevated design with traditional textile processing practices). An English designer with a profound passion for fashion, he’s living his dream working with local producers to create stunning, one-of-a-kind handmade clothes, accessories and home décor. With the goal of revitalizing the local artisanal sector, which is currently under threat.

 

AND … there’s more. A.N.D. employs (and consequently empower) disadvantaged people, and only uses reclaimed fabric and wood that would otherwise be discarded.

 

Cambodia is currently one of the largest cheap labor garment manufacturing zones. More and more young Cambodians are resorting to working in factories where human rights - and certainly creativity and authenticity! – is too often overlooked. All so that big corporate brands can keep up with the insatiable demand that “fast fashion” creates.

 

We’re thrilled to be able to support A.N.D. in revitalising the local artisanal sector, which is currently under threat. And in preserving long-standing traditions and safeguarding a sliver of Cambodia’s beauty and authenticity. Join us in welcoming them to the Lost in Samsara family. And if you can, help us raise them up by sharing this article online and shopping their collection.

 

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Heba, the hidden gem of Brick Lane

In the heart of Brick Lane there is a little door, hidden between the shops. If you pass by it you might not notice it, but behind that door there is a place where women bring together their ideas and strengths to build up a better future. Over that door there is Heba with a little office, a kitchen and a sewing room.

Heba means “gifted” and it’s a small charity founded 25 years ago. It originally started by providing English lessons to women from different cultural backgrounds who were living in the area. Many of them knew how to sew a little and wanted to learn how to do it professionally. So they decided to start offering training to give them the chance to learn new skills in a safe environment.

Anjum is from Pakistan and has been working there for 20 years. She tells me that many women have been able to learn how to sew and they have then started making dresses on order in their local communities, effectively beginning their own small business.

Lately though they had to give up the English lessons as the rent of the space they were using increased too much. They also don’t know if they can continue providing the sewing classes as the funds are slowly running out.

Despite the problems along the way, Heba is determined to continue its wonderful work and it is now focusing more in creating beautiful crafts and in collaborating with emergent designers to provide the women with an income and to keep the project alive.

At the moment there are four women working in the production, one of them is Laila. Laila is from Yemen and she does a bit of everything. She designs, she sews and she works at the stall in Spitalfields Market where Heba sells its beautiful dresses and accessories.

After all this time, Heba’s work is still relevant and really important. Integration and empowerment are what these wonderful women have been working on with passion and courage. It is truly inspiring to see a small group of committed people contributing to positive change. Heba is an hidden gem worth preserving, a space where women can come together, learn at their own pace, nurture their talents and build their own future.

 

You can support Heba by shopping at their stall in Spitalfields Market on Sundays or by taking part at their drop in classes on Saturdays.

 

Sewing Workshop: Saturdays 10am-1pm (£15)

Pattern Cutting Workshop: Saturdays 2:30pm-4:30pm (£15)

 

Heba Women’s Project 164 Brick Lane, E1 6RU

(Anjum)

(Laila)

(Heba at Spitalfields)

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Action Bag in Action

We are preparing new backpacks and other surprises in collaboration with Action Bag, part of Saidpur Enterprises and we had a chat with M. Ghayasuddin, the General Manager, to get to know them better. Saidpur Enterprises is an organisation located in Saidpur, 350 km Northwest of Dhaka, Bangladesh. They have been active since 1973, employing refugees displaced in the area after the war with Pakistan.

 “At the moment, there are 125 artisans employed, plus another 50 that are casuals” M. Ghayasuddin told us. “We are determined to fight poverty by providing jobs, good working condition and a living wage.”

For the past few years they have also been providing school supplies to children whose parents cannot afford to purchase them, without which they would not be able to attend school at all. “This program has encouraged children to go to school and so far we have been able to distribute over 500 school kits.”

 Especially in a country like Bangladesh, where 4.9 million children are estimated working in factories, Action Bag program is not just important, but it is an essential step towards a better future.

M. Ghayasuddin has shared some pictures with us from one of the distribution days and we love to share them with you.

 

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