Stella Jean, the Italian designer who helped put Pakistan on the fashion map after taking its craft and talent to Milan Fashion Week as a part of her S/S’20 collection titled Laboratory of Nations, took to Facebook to share a video thanking Pakistan for its contribution to her collection.
Karishma Ali, a national women’s football champion, who’s on the Fortune Magazine Under 30 list and helped create the bridge between Italy and Pakistan for this collaboration to happen, shared the video originally posted by Stella Jean.’My dear friend, a heartfelt thank you,’ wrote Stella before inviting the viewers more than 10000 feet high up in the mountains in Pakistan.
The video chronicles her journey in the mountains of Hunza, Gilgit and Chitral, from where she not just derived inspiration for her collection, but also rallied to showcase the craft that is indigenous to the women of these regions.
“Pakistan, for me, a leap into the darkness, which has transformed into a luminous ascent. Up there, in the Kalash Valleys, where along with Saba, only 1800 other women of this population remain to preserve a traditional heritage, as unique as it is breathtaking. And then a leap even higher, over three thousand meters, in one of the most remote places on Earth, Karimabad, where 46 women crafted 400 meters of embroidery under the guidance of Karishma,” shares Stella in the video.
“I climbed the giant rocks of the Hindu Kush to meet the Karighar artisans between the valleys of Gilgit and Hunza, where 19 women, coordinated by Sarwat, have transformed needle and thread into women empowerment tools and their cultural heritage into activators and drivers of sustainable development,” says Stella about the immense talent of the women of these regions, and the importance of their craft.
The video, evoking an almost nostalgic feeling of pride, crescendos as her journey goes on, ending with her thanking Pakistan. “I found an entire nation with open arms as long as its rivers, as engaging as its mountains, and as strong as these women, determined to keep their communities and traditions alive, always ready to welcome me without preconceived opinions. Thank you, Pakistan,” she notes.
Laboratory of Nations aimed to create a bridge between Italy and nine mission destinations, one of which was Pakistan.