Socially-conscious and ethical fashion accessories
TEXT: BETTINA GUIRKINGER | PHOTOS: PROTSAAH
Protsaah is not about charity but about empowerment. Working with artisan communities affected by violence and instability, this fashion brand allows crafts(wo)men from conflict areas around the world to reclaim their art and their dignity.
Founded in 2016 by social entrepreneur Saloni Duggal Shrestha, Protsaah began with the artisans of the violence-stricken region of Kashmir in northern India. Saloni has a very personal connection to the region and its story, explaining that “from a young age I’ve experienced the impact of terrorism on people on the ground, who usually have very little to do with it. It’s about greed, arm-trades, corruption… so I wanted to give people the chance to re-shape their story.”
Merging ancient skills with modern aesthetics, the exquisite Protsaah collections are marked by the individuality of the artisan and the inspiring stories that need to be told. Operating today in places such as Kashmir, Burkina Faso, Rwanda and Tibet, the brand never ceases to expand by working directly with artisans and local cooperatives on the ground. “I spend hours and hours researching projects. I look at the conflict area, the natural traditional skillset and only then do we create a collaborative project together”, says Saloni. “In Kashmir, for instance, we work with one of the oldest weavers there, and it was incredible to see him learning to do something new and develop it. He was very proud to create something that could not be done by a machine. It’s the stories like this that matter.”