I’d like to introduce Nadine Rose who has become a stockist of my designs. We met at the trade show in Birmingham, where she took an interest in my work. She has just launched her boutique and online store www.nadinerose.co.uk. I’d like others to hear the story and motives behind her enterprise which as rich in heritage as the decorative textiles she’s so passionate about.
Nadine has had a love of textiles and the Islamic world since she was a child growing up in Tehran. Since that time she has travelled the world seeking out decorative and unique embroideries and fabrics from countries such as Guatemala, Indonesia, Oman and Afghanistan.
Combining her love of learning about the world with collecting and sourcing beautiful products is a dream come true, and for the past seven years Nadine has been selling textiles from a number of countries in order to showcase the talents and rich heritage of these communities. Some of the products which she has identified are increasingly hard to find.
The labour of love found invested in a decorative handmade embroidery, rug or hanging cannot be ignored, and Nadine wishes to collaborate with designers and craft people across the globe to share these spectacular works of art with a market closer to home.
Wanting to understand more about the stories behind the textiles and other products which she has encountered led Nadine to study at the V&A Museum on its Islamic Art course as well as the museum’s Textiles and Interior Design courses.
Nadine successfully produced and manufactured high-quality cotton bedlinen with a partner whilst living in Oman. Now back home Nadine is focusing on identifying unique and amazing designs which are hard to find in the UK and on bringing those products to her customers – thus providing a marketplace to a new generation of overseas designers and crafts people. Having been an early student of development studies one of Nadine’s passions is social responsibility and she remains keen to play a part in creating economic opportunities for small businesses in developing countries, particularly for women.
Upon launch she revealed how the seeds were sewn
Today I am celebrating the launch of my new shop and web-site. It is a dream come true and has taken nine years to come to fruition although the seeds were sewn even before that.
Twelve years ago we sponsored a little girl in Ethiopia called Mekdes, she was four at the time and within a year of us sponsoring her she was orphaned. Knowing that she had three sisters I worried that they might not have the means to survive so left my two tiny daughters behind and set off to find them.
It wasn’t difficult as they live in a highland town called Lalibela where everybody knows everybody, the first thing I discovered about them was that their mother was highly respected. When I met the girls they were at the family house, however their home was the chicken shed as they were renting out the main (wattle) house and the income was just enough for them to buy what they needed to eat. They were also managing to attend school which was hugely important.
With Mekdes holding my hand and calling me mother I asked them all what they wanted to do with their futures. Hiwot, the eldest at 15 who had immediately taken on the responsibility of being the head of the family, wanted to be a pharmacist. Meseret, age 14, wanted to work in business, Juli, then 6 wanted to be a nurse or doctor and Mekdes at 5 wished to be a water engineer. Incredible goals!
Over the past twelve years, with the immense kindness and help from family and friends, I have been able to support the four girls with all of their costs. They have worked so incredibly hard and it hasn’t been easy at times. For Hiwot in particular, she has coped with having to be the role model to her sisters and for three years worked as a rural health worker – it would take her an entire day to walk over the mountains to the clinic. She has reaped the rewards of her efforts and is now a pharmacist in the local hospital.
Meseret is the one who has inspired me to set up my shop. Nine years ago we discussed ways that she could start her own sewing business after which I felt that I couldn’t possibly try to help her with something I didn’t know how to do myself and so the seed was planted. She has been through accountancy college and now works for a private company in Addis Ababa. Juli is coming to the end of her studies, she is a lab technician but may be keen to pursue more studies in medicine or nursing – the conversations are taking place now. Little Mekdes, now 17, graduates from a private school in Addis this summer and it is hoped will go on to study Civil Engineering at University, she has always been within the top 5 in her class and is extremely strong in maths.
The five of us Roses spent a week with the four of them last June, such a happy time for us all. I continue to support the three younger ones but Hiwot is now financially independent, 10% of my profits go towards this and I hope that in time I can support other young people in their studies.
The concept behind the store is to tell stories; telling the story behind each product – how it is made, by whom, how old it is, what it would originally have been used for if it is old, and where it is from. The stories showcase the design aesthetic behind the product and help bring past and present together. All the products on offer are made using traditional methods and therefore support communities and workers who are carrying on the heritage of their countries. Each piece is individually chosen for its colour, pattern and the quality of work whether it is from Turkey, Nepal, Afghanistan, Central Asia, France, the UK or elsewhere.
Passionate about textiles, Nadine’s goal is to source the unusual no matter whether a product is old or new, and to find new uses for traditional pieces by creating bespoke cushions, armchairs, footstools and wall hangings. These designs can be custom made to reflect the story of the owner, and an entire home can be decorated according to the colour palette of a carefully chosen textile, thus creating an interesting, layered, homely and liveable environment.