These waistcoats are perfectly designed to cope with Afghanistan’s brutally cold winters, and fierce summers, and are traditionally worn by Afghan men throughout the year. We’ve updated the traditional waistcoat by pairing soft wool with a contemporary lining. They are cut to fit all sizes, large and small.
Waistcoats are a typical item of Afghan menswear, often worn with a shalwar kameez, an outfit that consists of a long tunic and a matching pair of baggy trousers. The waistcoat may change its form depending on where it is made, when it is being worn (daily, festival, etc), and by whom. The Afghan term for this garment, waskat, hints strongly at its English origins, inspired by European waistcoats that initially appeared in India in the 18th century via the British East India Company and similar European trading companies.
These waistcoats are the result of a collaboration between ourselves, the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) and Zarif, a Kabul based textiles company. NRC funded the project, and the textiles company provided one year of tailoring training to 20 women displaced by conflict. Through these waistcoats we hope to create long term employment opportunities for the women.
Zarif Design is a Kabul based atelier who specialise in high-quality tailoring of fine fabrics from Afghanistan and Central Asia. Today Zarif employs 52 Afghan artisans, 16 men and 36 women, working as tailors, seamstresses, embroiderers and weavers.