We are immensely proud to announce the appointment of Tahmina Hakimova-Rees as our Cultural Lead for the Central Asian region. Tahmina was born and raised in the vicinity of Khujand in Tajikistan and continues to represent her culture and her region with fierce patriotism from her current base in the United Kingdom.
As a public speaker and business entrepreneur, Tahmina is a tireless campaigner for gender rights, disability rights and inclusivity. And her firm commitment to these ideals underpins her fair trade clothing brand, Salomat Ikat. The name was inspired by her own mother's struggles against gender based violence and she created the initiative to set up a framework for helping women who are at risk of harmful situations. But the enterprise is also rooted in the distinct cultural image of ikat cloth.
Central Asia has a rich history that is closely connected to the ancient silk road, an important trade route that enabled three-way commerce between Asia, Europe and Africa. As these influences washed over Central Asian communities along the route a distinct style of cultural wear evolved. Tajikistan in particular developed into an important manufacturing centre for ikat style cloth and clothing. Ikat is produced through a unique process where the silk is pre-dyed into the chosen pattern before hand-weaving takes place In recent years, there has been a revival of interest in ikat and its role in the region's cultural identity.
Tahmina's mission is to use this increased demand for ikat as a vehicle for social change. Her approach is two-fold. First, many of the woman crafters who supply Salomat Ikat are survivors of domestic violence. Earnings from the beautiful fabric they weave lay the foundation for achieving economic independence. But there is a second beneficiary to the brand. A ten percent portion of Salomat Ikat's profits go towards Nazari Digar, a non-profit organisation that aims to improve the lives of children and young people with Down's Syndrome.
With its bright colours and unapologetically bold designs, it is impossible to resist the happy, carefree mood that comes naturally from wearing ikat silk. It is as positive and resilient as Tahmina herself. That's why we invite you to watch this space closely for more exciting details on our upcoming collaboration with Tahmina Hakimova-Rees.