From the Desert to the Ramp: 'Taanka' at PFDC's Fashion Active Show and Exhibition

    Written by: Momina Mindeel
    Posted on: November 21, 2016 | Post your comment here Comments | 中文

    Models walk the ramp at the fashion show (photo: Syed Zargham Gilani) - Taanka at PFDC's Fashion Show

    Models walk the ramp at the fashion show (photo: Syed Zargham Gilani)

    Taanka – “a brand established to showcase the finest handcrafted contemporary designs with traditional stitches produced by rural artisans” – conducted its first arts and crafts exhibition at Mall 1, Lahore on the 19th and 20th of November. The exhibition kicked off with a press briefing with the artisans from Thatta, Umerkot and interior Sindh. This was followed by a fashion show in which the models walked the ramp wearing colorfully embroidered clothes that had been prepared by rural artisans from Sindh. An open exhibition and sale followed the fashion show, which continued on the second day of the event as well.

    Taanka at PFDC's Fashion Show

    The exhibition (photo: 'Taanka' Facebook page)

    Taanka at PFDC's Fashion Show

    A model accompanies one of the artisans at the ramp

    Taanka’s efforts in bridging the gap between the public and the needy yet talented rural artisans go a long way. Last year, at the Daachi Arts and Crafts Exhibition, Taanka displayed the handiwork of these immensely talented artisans. Moreover, last month, a kiosk was set up at Ocean Mall, Karachi, displaying handicrafts produced by rural artisans trained under the brand of Taanka. “Tote bags, pouches, hand purses, clutches, notebooks, stitched and unstitched shirts for women, trousers, ralli quilts, necklaces and other types of apparel were available for sale at the Taanka kiosk.”

    ‘Taanka at PFDC’s Fashion Active Show and Exhibition’ was yet another attempt to bridge the yawning gap between the artisans and the public. The highlight of the event were the beaming faces of the artisan women who were donned in their traditional Sindhi desert clothes. It is rather unfortunate that not a lot of people showed up for the event given its noble cause, and the space was slightly small for an event of this magnitude. Nonetheless, the fashion show went on quite smoothly, with the exhibition opening to the general public right after it.

    Taanka at PFDC's Fashion Show

    Taanka’s roots can be traced back to when the Community World Service Asia (CWSA), with support from the Danish Center for Culture and Development, began organizing workshops for rural artisans from interior Sindh and brought them together with design students from the Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture (IVS) and the Textile Institute of Pakistan (TIP), amongst other institutes in Karachi. According to the video released by Taanka’s official Facebook page, the workshops were aimed at empowering the artisans so that they could work independently with the designers and utilize their skills which, given their living conditions, often went unnoticed. In the words of one of the workshop organizers, “Our main aim (during the workshop) will be to introduce the designers to the artisans from Umerkot and (to demonstrate that) these artisans will deliver quality work to the designers. With this workshop, we want to develop relationships between the artisans, vendors and designers, so that they can work independently to create quality products in a timely manner.”

    Thanks to the workshop conducted by CWSA, around 670 talented rural artisans produced more than 1,700 handmade products in merely 40 days. Here’s hoping that the efforts put in by Taanka and CWSA continue to help in bringing the artisans together with the vendors and designers, and enable them to establish a stronger identity in the coming years.

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