Six Cities kilim
These colourful kilims, handmade in Afghanistan, are a collaboration with London-based social enterprise ISHKAR. They highlight the stories of some of ISHKAR’s Afghan partners who fled the country in 2021 and are now building new homes in unfamiliar cities. These kilims measure 140x200cm and are available in two colours.
We ship them worldwide. Our shipping fee for outside the EU includes duties and taxes. The Six Cities kilims are made to order in Afghanistan. Allow four months for delivery.
ISHKAR has been collaborating with kilim weavers in Afghanistan for years, initially working with women who’d been internally displaced because of drought. They've now expanded their enterprise to other weavers across the country. Since the Taliban takeover, women are prevented from almost all employment but weaving from home is one of the few livelihoods still possible. Please note that every kilim sold is paid directly to the people who made it.
The cities featured are those that three of ISHKAR’s Afghan partners left and are now living in. One connects Farshad Usyan - an award-winning photographer trained as a medic, now living in Paris. Born in the northern city of Mazar-e Sharif, Farshad worked as a photographer for Agence France-Presse in Afghanistan and is now in Paris. He is keen to return to his training and become a doctor. Another relates to Sajjad Husaini, a ski champion from Bamiyan (the first Afghan to qualify for the Olympics), who moved with his family to Schwenningen in Germany in 2021. Finally, the link between Kabul and Flensburg is about Saboor Azizi, ISHKAR’s lifesaving logistics manager’s journey.
Every kilim is made by hand from start to finish. The process of making the wool and dyeing it is done by men, as is washing the final product. But the weaving of the kilim is done by women in their own homes. Part of what makes Afghanistan’s kilims so special is the wool they are made from. Each strand of wool is individually spun by hand, giving the kilims great character. With its unusually long strands Ghazni wool is also famously hardwearing, meaning Afghan carpets can last centuries.
What links the city of Bamiyan, Afghanistan to Flensburg, Germany? Or Mazar-e Sharif to Paris? When we think about forced migration we often think of cities like Lesvos, Lampedusa or Calais; cities that make headlines for the influx of people seeking refuge in camps. In reality, many people will also end up in cities across Europe that are rarely included in this narrative. Cities like Schwenningen in Germany. We chose to weave the names of European cities in the Arabic script too, to illustrate how they had become part of a common narrative.
We've been blessed with great and kind press coverage. French Vogue was our first press feature (for of course), so heart out to them. We've also had a full page in M (Le Monde's style supplément), an amazing in-depth article in , a feature in and many many fabulous mentions in , , and .
In real life (wait, Insta isn't real life? I'm up for a debate), our ambassadors are just the best. The queen of them all being writer Deborah Levy, who wears her Bangla Begum jewelry everywhere (even in ). Princes and princesses of the realm include film director and actress Monia Chokri (), curator Diana Campbell (), artist Miet Warlop (), and Lebanese poet Hussein Nasereddine (), all of them carrying Bangla Begum into their own wide and wild worlds.