Tala Barbotin Khalidy is the type of talent that makes you believe in humanity again, forgetting the stereotypical idea that fashion is superficial. Fashion can be a way of promoting diversity and healing deep-rooted problems associated with cultural issues, and that’s exactly what her brand is doing: challenging perceptions of the Middle East and of handcraft through contemporary clothing and embroidery workshops.
Tla was exposed to fashion from an early age, through her family in Lebanon, and educated her perspective as Fashion Design BFA student at Parsons the New School for Design, New York.
Seeing conflicts of the region in the media, the representation of Middle East she was seeing was not what she felt at heart, so she took it as a mission to promote its rich cultural background and pay it forward through her clothing brand. This is how she started working with Lebanese and Syrian artisans to revitalize local endangered craft techniques. Highly skilled artisans in the Levant were being slowly left without work and she came in to help.
They create mindful design together, which is why they only create small batches & made-to-order pieces. Each item is carefully designed in-house in New York, and then they collaborate with local artisans in Lebanon and Syria for specific techniques they excel at (embroidery, crochet, weaving…)
Embroidery and handmade pieces become a form of expression of personal identity. In their words: “Our pieces are an outcome of storytelling through the cultural significance of a motif or fabric to our personal take on a technique or silhouette.”
Tala also noticed the meditative potential embroidery has, how calm and content it makes you feel, which encouraged her to develop Embroidery as an Occupational Therapy workshops with Womankind in New York, a residential shelter for victims of human trafficking, sexual violence and domestic violence.
Through these workshops, they aim to reconnect people with the lost child within themselves and, of course, perpetuate the craft. Sewing can be really healing and raises focus and mental clarity.
She also underwent over 300h of training to become a meditation teacher, which she incorporates in the brand’s mission and manifesto. Good Move, and Three Jewels, in New York, are some of the places she’s been teaching meditation.
You can check out their story and shop for their latest pieces by clicking here.