The Team Behind Evolverie
Evolverie garments are hand-made in Columbus, Ohio and Karachi, Pakistan by Victoria Road
Shannon is the Chief Executive Officer at Victoria Road , a socially responsible clothing, fair trade workshop in Karachi, Pakistan. Founded and driven by Shannon, VR was inspired by an American woman’s deep admiration for the people, design and craft she discovered in Pakistan.
Victoria Road is changing the way clothes are made in emerging markets: putting the focus back on the spectacular local talent in fabric design and craftsmanship instead of the fast fashion the industry so often expects. Through their carefully crafted supply chain, they are supporting local entrepreneurship, with a preference for working with women suppliers whenever possible.
They are bridging culture through design by using fashion as a stepping stone towards a positive cross-cultural dialogue.
VR also provides mentoring and incubation opportunities for young and up-and-coming designers and aspiring fashion entrepreneurs to work with their team in Karachi. They offer them exposure to an operational business successfully designing for export to international markets. VR teaches them about the financial aspects of starting your own business, planning and supply chain management. Along with her work at Victoria Road, Shannon is a member of the Fair Trade Federation and Hey Mommas.
Our hand embroidery is done on an adda – a traditional structure made of wood and rested on stools that sits low to the ground. The fabric is attached to the frame with threads called tharra. This keeps the fabric taught and allows them to work very quickly. They use many different needles but one of the most common is the aari needle. A highly experienced craftsman can do up to 30 stitches a minute using this needle.
Our in-house adda workers are Nafees and Imran. Nafees has been practicing this craft for 23 years and Imran for 17. Both were initially introduced to the practice by their friends and family members. They were both born and raised in Karachi and have immense pride for their city. It can often take many days to complete a single piece, but Nafees loves his work and feels that the time and effort he has put into perfecting his skills has been worth it. Imran also enjoys what he does but would be open to learning new skills if it gave him the opportunity to have greater financial security. Nafees is father to 5 sons ranging in age from 2 to 12. Imran has one son who is 7 years old. Thanks for taking the time to get to know the people who have worked on your pieces.
Q&A WITH SHANNON, CEO Victoria Road
evolverie clothing is made at a Fair-Trade workshop in Karachi, Pakistan. There are a number of major clothing brands that exploit Pakistan’s workers in sweatshops. How important is it to you to offer workers the chance to work in a Fair-Trade environment?
We initially looked to outsource our production, but it quickly became clear that we would have limited control over the wages paid to the workers and their working conditions. This was the reason we decided to invest in setting up our own dedicated facility. I believe that if our workers are treated well, the overall product will be superior. It’s not only the right thing to do, but it also makes business sense, too. We believe in providing every facility possible to the people associated with this brand. They aren’t our workers, they are our colleagues.
The mission at VR is to bridge cultures through designs. How can this promote cultural understanding?
Cultural understanding starts with the people to people connection. Once you get to know someone you realize that they are not so different from you. We don’t just make clothes, we share stories. We tell the story of the people involved in all parts of the process from making the fabrics to the design and stitching of the clothes. Thus, we are aiming not just to be a bridge between industry but between cultures and personas as well.