SHARJAH: Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher Bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, wife of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah, Chairperson of NAMA Women Advancement Establishment, Founder and Royal Patron of Irthi Contemporary Crafts Council, has launched the first international product line to feature the traditional Emirati craft of ‘Talli.’
Taking place at British luxury brand Asprey’s London boutique, the launch saw the unveiling of the ‘One Stitch at a Time’ collection of premium leather handbags, all of which incorporate Talli in their designs. The range is the fruit of a partnership between Asprey and Irthi Contemporary Crafts Council, a subsidiary of Sharjah-based NAMA Women Advancement Establishment that works to empower women socially, professionally and economically.
“Today, we celebrate two important new achievements for Emirati Talli craftswomen – the incorporation of their unique traditional designs on a range of bespoke luxury handbags and their successful reach into an important new international market. Traditional Emirati female artisans are a vital part of Emirati heritage and through ventures such as this, we seek to support all women artisans working in the industry, preserve their crafts, develop them and commercialise them. This is possible thanks to the incredible level of support from our leaders. We particularly thank Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, Mother of the Nation, Chairwoman of the General Women’s Union (GWU) and Supreme Chairwoman of the Family Development Foundation, as well as the Irthi Contemporary Craft Council, for their continuous and unstinting efforts in this regard,” said Sheikha Jawaher.
Sheikha Jawaher praised the Irthi Contemporary Crafts Council’s Bidwa Social Development Programme, which initiated and oversaw the partnership with Asprey. She emphasised the importance of continuing to empower Emirati women who work in the field of traditional handicrafts, helping them to keep their practices alive and enabling them to pass on their skills to future generations. Sheikha Jawaher acknowledged that the proceeds from the sale of the ‘One Stitch at a Time’ limited collection of handbags would be donated to the Bidwa Social Development Programme, thereby helping it to continue its efforts that support and empower female artisans in the UAE.
The ‘One Stitch at a Time’ launch event at Asprey’s flagship New Bond Street branch was attended by Sheikha Hour Bint Sultan Al Qassimi, President of Sharjah Arts Foundation; Ameera BinKaram, Deputy Chairperson of NAMA Women Advancement Establishment and Chairperson of Sharjah Business Women Council; Noura Khalifa Al Suwaidi, Director General of GWU; Alya Al Mazroui, Wife of the United Arab Emirates Ambassador in United Kingdom; Haifa Fahoum Al Kaylani, Founder and Chairwoman of the Arab International Women’s Forum; Sawsan Jaffar, Board Member of Friends of Cancer Patients; Noura Al Noman, Chairperson of the Executive Office of H.H. Sheikha Jawaher Al Qasimi and Reem Al Falasi, Secretary General of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood. A large audience of society ladies and businesswomen from the UK, UAE and Arab world were also present.
The limited ‘One Stitch at a Time’ collection includes the hand-woven model 1781, which takes its designation from Asprey’s founding date and has been expertly adorned with a type of Talli known as ‘Fetoul,’ woven by artisan Ameina Mohamed Sharafaldeen. The Morgan Mini Sand Dune Bullskin handbag, for its turn, incorporates fresh palettes of Talli perfectly combined and incorporated by craftswomen Zehra Sheikh Ahmed and Sheikha Rashed Alyamahi.
The 1781 Mini Beach Hut Blue Lizard handbag is embellished with a selection of intricate Talli woven by lead artisan Fatimah Fareed in collaboration with Mariam Aziz Alrahman, Sendia Alyammahi and Fatima Mohamed Sawy, while the Belle Boathouse Blue Bullskin Sea Blue Nubuck is resplendent with its traditional diagonal striped Talli, exquisitely woven by Mariam Azizelrahman.