This weekend I had the privilege of attending an exhibition by designer Taslima K.
FASHION WITH A MESSAGE ! Taslima K is a Luxury British Fashion Label. Creating awareness on social issues through fashion. The exhibit was called “Remember me” and is inspired by Bosnia, taking a negative situation making it positive; creating awareness and promoting tolerance and acceptance, equality, love and peace.
In 1991, Yugoslavia began to break up along ethnic lines. When the republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Bosnia) declared independence in 1992 the region quickly became the central theatre of fighting.
The Serbs targeted Bosniak and Croatian civilians in a campaign of ethnic cleansing. The war in Bosnia claimed the lives of an estimated 100,000 people and displaced more than two million.
The height of the killing took place in July 1995 when 8,000 Bosniaks (bosnian muslims) were killed in what became known as the Srebrenica genocide, the largest massacre in Europe after the Holocaust.
excerpt taken from endgenocide.org
You can read more about the history of Bosnia here.
“Taslima Khan the founder/designer of TASLIMA K was selected by Remembering Srebrenica charity to go to Bosnia on an educational visit to learn about the genocide. Taslima learnt the history of the tragedy: visiting museums, ICMP, memorial and meeting the mothers of Srebrenica who have lost all of the men in their family.”
Her designs from her journey to Bosnia, Srebrenica eloquently and subtly unfold the tales of the genocide. The audience is taken on a journey through Bosnia with the designer where we became educated upon the genocide that happened 20 years ago. “8,372 Muslim Men and Boys were murdered in Srebrenica. International commission on Missing Persons is still investigating and finding bodies in the mass graves all over Bosnia.” The exhibition was surrounded by flowers such as:
- Baby’s breath which symbolises pure of heart this fragile flower reminds us of a softer innocence && gentler time in the survivors lives.
- Gladiolus flower signifies remembrance and strength.
- Lillies symbolise that the soul of the departed has received restored innocence after death.
Accompanied by delicate Bosnian touches with coffee and colourful tapestry representing a graceful garden which the models gathered displaying each garment.
“The Silhouettes in the collection are inspired by the traditional Bosnian clothing, including ‘harem pants’. The colour palette is dominated by white, green and camouflage. White lace is mimicking the Bosnian remembrance flower, resembling angels, while contrasting texture of camouflage fabric represents the civilians who became soldiers to protect their family, friends and country. Green conveys the scenic route from Sarajevo to Srebrenica.”
The inspiration was evident when looking around the room, you could feel the peace that has overcome the survivors of Srebrenica and Taslima’s passion resonated with the narrative of the designs. Thus her explanation of the circular design in the lace signifying bullet wounds the victims sustained during the war. Which I found to be a precious touch.
Also the inclusion of their transition from ordinary citizens to soldiers (which can be seen represented in the grid below first row middle thumbnail) exhibited Taslima’s attention to detail. A common piece within the designs was a crochet flower that subtly appeared, that was the flower of Srebrenica. It’s message: white signifies innocence, green signifies hope, and eleven petals stand for July 11, 1995.
It was wonderful meeting Taslima and engaging with amazing people at her event. We the audience experienced the hope and peace of the people of Srebrenica through the installation, songs and spoken word also bonus the henna artist Nishel. Who has bubbly personality absolutely lovely and creative her website is linked. I met Taslima at her event as I sponsored some of my products for her goodie bags, she was impressive && super busy explaining her journey, her designs, the people of Srebrenica’s feelings and vision of the future. Which they explicitly stated that there is no hate in their hearts only forgiveness and the strength to move on. As every genocide tragedy is extremely devastating I cannot imagine the experience of one retelling their story of the events that occurred let alone sit and take in…
Overcoming such acts are extremely hard to attain forgiveness, find courage and even over come such pain, however the mothers especially believe in peace and moving forward towards the future.
I sponsored some products for the shows goodie bags.
It was a bundle to prepare but the scurrying around didn’t take much time luckily I did everything after I was finished with uni for the day. The best thing I did was keeping it simple which worked out for the best. I am happy I was a part of this as I had learned something new about myself also.
Overall I have to say during this event this topic was delivered exquisitely throughout her designs, speech, the spoken word and photography.
Truly passionate && inspirational.