Earlier than Kabul turned synonymous with violence and devastation, Afghanistan’s capital metropolis was thought of one of the vital modern locations on the planet. From the 1920s to the 1970s, Afghanistan celebrated its wealthy tradition – the December 1969 challenge of Vogue even ran a canopy story on Kabul vogue known as “Afghan Journey.”
However many years of conflict have erased the Western affect on Afghanistan’s model and destroyed a lot of the vibrancy of the nation’s vogue traditions.
In an try to revive a few of Afghanistan’s sartorial glory, college scholar Rahiba Rahimi, 21, teamed up with a gaggle of younger Afghan entrepreneurs to create Laman, the nation’s first domestically produced and marketed vogue label. Launched in 2015, Laman – which is Persian for “skirt” – fuses Western and conventional kinds and highlights fashionable variations of what Rahimi calls the “virtually forgotten” ethnic handicrafts. The aim, says Rahimi, is to “reintroduce Afghan vogue to the remainder of the world.”
From its first official catwalk present, which was hosted in Afghanistan’s U.S. Embassy, Laman has grown right into a label worn by everybody from younger ladies to authorities officers. Rahimi and her staff have additionally designed garments for among the judges and contributors within the wildly common TV present “Afghan Star,” a singing contest modeled on “American Idol.”
Girls & Women spoke with Rahimi, who lives in Afghanistan, in regards to the altering attitudes of Afghanistan’s younger technology and the empowering nature of vogue.
Girls & Women: What impressed you to start out Laman?
Rahiba Rahimi: Fairly a number of issues. I used to be at all times fascinated by the fantastic thing about our conventional customs and the wealthy historical past that lies behind an merchandise of our handicraft. I grew up seeing my mother sporting attire and scarves with Afghan embroidery and jewellery. Ever since then, I needed to have my very own design firm and my very own model to assert our cultural heritage, to assist Afghanistan have a model and to make room for traditions in fashionable Afghanistan.
Girls & Women: Who's your goal market?
Rahimi: Our goal market was initially center-class to higher-class Afghan residents, each female and male. However, as we speak we now have overseas clients inside and out of doors Afghanistan. Now we have girls who hardly step out of their home as our clients. Different clients embody younger Afghan girls and boys and authorities officers.
Girls & Women: How is vogue empowering for girls in Afghanistan?
Rahimi: I consider how we costume communicates to others the individual we're. It's a type of expression. How we select to decorate makes an announcement to the world round us. So with that comes a way of energy and confidence.
We use daring colours and patterns in a few of our designs. This can be a large change, as most Afghan girls put on muted colours like black, brown or navy to not stand out in a crowd. Fashion in a method helps our girls come out of their shells and inform society, “I'm right here. See me. Hear me.”
Girls & Women: If you launched Laman, it was a tricky time to start out a enterprise. The Afghan economic system had began to fall into main disaster following the withdrawal of overseas troops. Did you ever suppose it will be too dangerous?
Rahimi: Once we first began Laman, it was a important time for any enterprise to outlive. Many traders began to close down their companies and go away Afghanistan as a result of political uncertainty. However we couldn’t await the best time. We believed in what we had been doing and what we needed to obtain.
Girls & Women: Do you could have a message for different entrepreneurs dealing with the identical challenges?
Rahimi: It's at all times arduous for a girl to guide, particularly in a rustic like Afghanistan. Maintain your head excessive and push ahead, and on the finish those that are towards you'll respect you. I've had nice help from my household and mates, as a result of I've proven them what I'm able to. It’s all about arduous work, and fortunately Afghanistan is in a state of affairs proper now the place most individuals’s mentality has modified and the brand new technology is extra lively in contributing to society, which belongs to each women and men equally.
Girls & Women: How do you see the function of Afghan girls altering?
Rahimi: I really feel this feminist mental consciousness rising. I see households encouraging their daughters to pursue schooling and careers. I witness Afghan girls tapping alternatives in numerous arenas like enterprise, politics, sports activities and singing. Girls in Afghanistan have unbelievable energy and have come an extended method to acquire again their rights, and they're decided to proceed their battle for gender equality.
This dialog has been edited for size and readability.