Hey there you guys. So excited to have the girls from Popinjay here today. I fell in love with their beautiful, one-of-a-kind handcrafted bags as soon I saw them so its an honor that they’re here to share a bit about Popinjay and how it all began.
ABOUT POPINJAY Popinjay is a label that has the grand vision of providing equal opportunity to everyone on the planet. Popinjay products are individually handmade in Pakistan, with the love and care of a master of her work. They represent a revival of ancient craft techniques, bringing you a little bit of history and old-world class. We spent months finding some of the world’s most skilled artisans, embroiderers, pattern-makers and seamstresses to bring you the finest workmanship—and it shows in every product we make. When you buy a Popinjay product, trust that it will be handmade, high-quality, and yours alone. Our pieces are timeless, and an antithesis to the modern pandemic of producing and consuming faster.
THE PEOPLE BEHIND POPINJAY We are a team of four - I (Saba) started the label and have a background in engineering with degrees from MIT and a working stint in Silicon Valley. I always felt inspired by the marvelous beauty and immense talent in Pakistan, where I grew up until 18 and it is the potential of connecting this talent to global markets that compelled me to quit my 6-figure salary in the US and move back to take on Popinjay full-time. Adil Iqbal, a Scottish Pakistani is our Creative Director. He has previously worked with labels like Hugo Boss and TakaNaka and has done multiple cross-cultural collaborations to push the boundaries of arts and crafts in places like Pakistan. Much of the inspiration for his work has come from cities in northern Pakistan like Chitral. Alina Jiwani heads our Sales and Marketing. She has an MBA and has previously worked in fashion PR and digital marketing for labels like Bebe. She has a passion for travel and loves that Popinjay brings the crafts and stories of our artisan women to a global audience. Nida Naseem is our Production Manager in Pakistan. She is a young graduate of the Pakistan School of Fashion Design. She handles all our production, vendor relations, and shipping timelines.
HOW IT ALL BEGAN In 2009, when I was a graduate student at MIT, I heard the story of Azaada Khan, a teenage girl growing up in Afghanistan in the 1990s under the Taliban when girls were prohibited by law to attend school. Azaada masked herself as a boy for 12 years to be allowed an education. She changed her name, cut her hair, the way she walked, talked and dressed to take on this new identity. When she turned 13 and her parents wanted to marry her off to a man, she was confused and distressed about her real gender and identity. Azaada's struggles were so raw and moving to me. I was born and raised in neighboring Pakistan, where girls went through similar struggles as Afghan girls to get access to basic rights. But here I was, getting my second degree at MIT. I felt moved to visit the communities in Pakistan that were being helped by the same organization that had built the school where Azaada got an education. That community, in Attock, Pakistan became the pilot for my work.
PROUD MOMENTS Our Iznik Scarlet Box Clutch was carried at the 2013 Emmys. Recently our Anfa Envelope Clutch was featured in Grazia as their Friday Fashion Style Pick. We will also be announcing some exciting partnerships beginning with Anthropologie starting March 2014.
INSPIRATIONS LA MEZQUITA was originally inspired by the city of Lahore, where our female artisans are based, and where I (Saba) spent my childhood. Lahore is a mecca of history, and home to masterpieces of Islamic Architecture, such as the majestic Badshahi Mosque with its red sandstone and marble inlay work, the Wazir Khan Mosque with its stunning colored frescos, and the Lahore Fort with its mesmerizing Sheesh Mahal or Mirror Palace. The cultural capital of Pakistan, Lahore has captivated the hearts and minds of poets, musicians, sculptors and artists through the ages. The city's old quarters transport you to a storied age of decorative art and ancient craft techniques. This artwork adorns not just mosques but also homes, gardens, forts, palaces, baths and mausoleums.
While LA MEZQUITA began as a collection focused on the architecture of Lahore, as our design progressed, inspiration took root in decorative motifs from places as far as Spain and as early as the 8th century. It became an artistic representation of the rich culture, heritage and craft techniques manifest in Islamic Architecture. LA MEZQUITA is inspired by the stunning masterpieces of Islamic architecture – from Spain to Pakistan, and is a tribute to a time when the focus on techniques in intricate, decorative art done by hand was at its peak.
Thank you so much for sharing your story Popinjay. You make us proud.
Go here to buy the bags. Also the girls were kind enough to offer 20% off all products for my lovely readers. Use code LGW at checkout. :)
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Thanks for reading.