When two crises arise at the same time, why tackle one when you can tackle both?
As time goes by, we as a society begin to chip away at pieces of our culture. This is not to say that it’s always necessarily bad, it’s needed sometimes. However, it does not mean that we should abandon all of them all together.
When Herfah and Art of Heritage saw that interest in local craft was declining and unemployment was high, they decided to step in and kill two birds with one stone.
Both organizations are dedicated to preserving traditional crafts and clothing. But what is more impressive is how they do it. They do not mass-produce these items and instead hand-make those the way they were originally supposed to be made. And the carry on top is they use Saudi hands to make them.
Herfah is mainly a women’s coop in Qassim. Their purpose is to nurture and encourage productive families, especially women. Their mothers and their mothers before them taught the women who weave the sadus the craft. What Herfah does is take this valued tradition and allow these women to turn it into a viable source of income.
Herfah teamed up with fashion designer Naeema AlShuhail to create Herfah by Naeema. The collection is made in collaboration with these local artists.
Art of Heritage
Art of Heritage is a charity that aims to collect and converse Saudi heritage. They currently have the largest archive of Saudi textiles. Traditional textiles aren’t the only things in their portfolio; garments, carpets, jewelry, artifacts and even doors are all produced and showcased there.
Yadawy, which means handmade, is a division of Art of Heritage dedicated to pottery. Yadawy is Art of Heritage’s long-term commitment to creating sustainable income for some of the most challenged and financially needy women in Saudi Arabia. The inspiring women who create these works of art don’t let their physical disabilities stop them.
Torathuna is another organization with the same aim to promote traditional culture. Targeting entrepreneurs instead of artisans, Torathuna’s objective is to create companies and manufacturing jobs within the field of local products and culture. Helping set up businesses and providing mentorship and guidance along the way.
Both these organizations are trying to carry the mantle of traditional Saudi crafts and fashion. With the current trend moving towards cultural wear, how about we help them carry it by heading there instead of a mass-produced foreign label. Just ‘cause you can’t pronounce the brand, doesn’t make it better.