This weekend was full of exhibitions, not least of which the Annual Entrepreneur’s Day by SAARC Women’s Association – a yearly event that showcases the best of entrepreneurial spirit as well as some fabulous creativity. The SAARC exhibition concentrates on promoting craft ranging from clothing, jewellery, home accessories, handicrafts and a plethora of beautiful knick-knacks. We headed to this year’s event to shop, browse and mingle – and came back with plenty of gorgeous bargains to boot. It’s a huge event and we couldn’t possibly cover it all but here’s a quick look at some of the stuff that caught our fancy!
Top picks from SAARC this year
Home and Decor Items
The Crafters stall had some really charming pieces, each item unique in its own way and carefully hand crafted with excellent finishing. These pieces could make for some eyeful accents to your home, or an exclusive gift items for your dear ones. They had some customised waste-paper baskets, cute chalkboards that you can write your own little messages on and some wonderful mirrors that are perfect for uplifting a dull corner in your home. There were beautiful TV trays adorned with floral designs, that were very practical, and can be used for a lazy meal on the sofa but make a great panorama for serving snacks and tea for guests. Jiddat, a brand that provides gainful employment for disabled people, produces exclusives block prints, home accessories and other handicrafts. I bought a a very practical yet beautiful laptop table from Jiddat, which not only looks good but is so useful for using my laptop on the sofa, bed or anywhere around the house (I am using it right now!)
Star Shine Creative Gallery displayed home accessories inspired by truck art in the unconventional form of trays, cutlery holders, decorate tea pots, jewellery boxes, dairies and notebook. Customarily done in bright neon colours, with larger than life designs of flowers and leaves, this funky style emulates the decorative paint done on traditional Pakistani public buses. Merchandisers from ‘Ajrak Centre’ also had some great glazed terracotta urns and pottery pieces in gorgeous colours from Hala in Sindh, which were a steal, as I have seen similar products at much higher prices at high end shops in Karachi.
Although, I usually buy candles when I travel abroad, The Karachi Candle Company is slowly changing that. They were also at SAARC and had some mesmerising scents, including the locally inspired white champa and jasmine & lotus. Other popular vendors like Clayworks and The Craft Company were also present at the event.
Clothes & Textiles
There was a vast range of textiles available at SAARC, which included not only clothes but a great range of cushions, mats, table runners and bed linen. Sundartas Collection had an interesting collection of organically dyed suits, rilli work and some stitched silk tops. There was also one entrepreneur that had a great collection of Ajrak inspired designs but that on silk, which were at very reasonable prices.
Colore and Kashish, were two stalls that had some beautiful block printed suits, selling away like hot-cakes. Colore block prints paired up silk shirts with chiffon dupattas, which are very practical for all sorts of occasion. Kashish block prints not only had clothes but had a variety of block printed table mats, runners, and other linen materials. Kashish also introduced a new range of pastel coloured pashmina stoles with silver and gold block printing, which are perfect for pairing up with formal wear in the winter season.
There were also some fusion wear, such as stitched organza wraps, embroidered short tunics and some snazzy peplum shirts by Attire by Bushra Wahid, a shop on Zamzama at very affordable prices.
There were one to many jewellery stalls, and although most had a great variety it was a bit intimidating. The typical big stones, paired up with beads and a little bit of calligraphy here and there has been seen and worn one time too many. This type of jewellery is available in the local markets as well as the newly opened glossy malls. However, it is still fun to look at but when it comes to choosing something to buy, it can be confusing. There were a few stalls that had some different pieces, one stall had some imported Turkish jewellery comprising of typical ottoman inspired big-stoned earrings and bracelets with a gold matte finish. Bisera Jewels, had a unique style of handmade jewellery made out of copper wires, which was something different from what I had seen before. I also found some funky bird-cage earrings by Aneesa Unus, which have been all the rage recently and that too at a very reasonable price!
What was missed this year??
I would have loved to seen more home-made beauty and health products like massage oils, organic face masques, scrubs and even herbal medicines. Although there was a foot massage kiosk that everyone loved, it that could have easily been paired up with some product sampling. Another thing that I was craving for was good artwork! There was only one stall with paintings and they were mostly calligraphy’s, i hope next year there are budding artists who are willing to display their work at SAARC. Another stall that was sorely missed, were the people who sell borders with Gharra work, which is handmade kachaa resham embroidery, which is a specialised parsi craft not easily available in local markets.