FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Running from December 1st – December 10th, ISHKAR’s
Baker Street concept store is designed to inform, surprise
Returning from Afghanistan after living there for three years, two
young entrepreneurs – Flore de Taisne and Edmund Le Brun -
founded ISHKAR, a social enterprise selling the result of
collaborations between top international designers and craftsmen in
Their first ever pop-up shop in Baker Street’s ‘The Koppel Project’,
features pieces entirely made in Afghanistan, ranging from a carpet
designed by Zaha Hadid, right through to a dazzling pyramid of glass
from Afghanistan’s last remaining glass workshop.
In their curated collection high-end jewellery pieces designed by
British designers Pippa Small and Alice Ciciolini sit alongside hand-
felted slippers made by craftsmen in the mountains of central
Afghanistan. The collection is diverse, but united in its message.
In the wake of Brexit, Donald Trump’s election and a mounting
refugee crisis in Europe, ISHKAR believes that it’s never been more
important to show sides to countries like Afghanistan which are
rarely seen in the news. That’s why their concept store is more than
just a shop: the space also includes film and an interactive app
designed to educate viewers about Afghanistan’s rich heritage.
Underpinned by a belief of the power of craft to create positive
social impact, ISHKAR has partnered with West London based
design and build social enterprise, Goldfinger Factory, on the shop fit-out.
Starting with a first collection from Afghanistan, ISHKAR is setting out to become leading brand creating social impact through luxury craftsmanship.
After working for three years in Afghanistan, we came to know many talented craftsmen. Despite the obvious quality of their work, we saw how their lack of access to international markets threatened the future of their trade.
We set up ISHKAR to change this.
Our social impact model is threefold:
1. The vast majority of our products are purchased through NGOs, ensuring that a proportion of our profits are reinvested back into infrastructural development projects to support the communities from which we buy - providing educational opportunities, health care, and much more.
2. Having chosen only to work with craftsmen whose trade has been adversely affected by warfare, we are providing economic security, fair wages and further business opportunities to those who work in the most dire of economic conditions.
3. By bringing these beautifully handcrafted products to international markets, we hope to shed light on the more positive sides to countries often portrayed as little more as war-zones or "aid-traps" - like Afghanistan. By showcasing the outstanding cultural heritage and quality craftsmanship in such nations, we aim to provide more nuance and understanding to the public discourse, and bring tangible testaments to this heritage into people's homes.
Having garnered the collaboration of premier names such as Frank Gehry, Zaha Hadid, Pippa Small and Hattie Rickards, our products range from the designer - Gehry rugs and Small jewellery - to the truly unique - including glassware crafted by the last remaining Herati glassblower. All, however, are united in their ability to keep alive the cultural and artisanal traditions of Afghanistan.
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