We don’t like to separate. All women are welcome here.
Did you know that Bosnia and Herzegovina was severely affected by war from 1992 to 1995?
The violent ethnic tension created a surge of migration, with Nadira Skaljic Mingasson leaving her home for Paris, France. Whilst there, she studied fashion design which led to connections within the Parisian fashion world; Mingasson attempted to foster a connection with Bosnia through collaborations with Bosnian designers, setting up fashion fairs around France and even one in Tokyo! However, the desire to return to the motherland persisted so in 2011 she returned to Sarajevo.
But the desire to continue working in the fashion industry also persisted so Mingasson founded Udruzene, translated into uniting women, that same year. The non-profit organization emphasises sustainable, and ethical, fashion while simultaneously only employing disadvantaged women – the term encompassing victims of war, sexual assault victims, unemployed mothers, and more. “We don’t like to separate. All women are welcome here,” Mingasson said.
The intent behind Udruzene is twofold, to re-engage disadvantaged women with their communities and to preserve the art of knitting – the organisation specialises in knitwear. The reason that Udruzene only sells knitted items is due to the fact that knitting is a tradition in Bosnia, especially amongst women; almost every Bosnian female has been taught how to knit at a young age, learning from her mother, who learned from her mother, and so on. During the war especially knitting provided a therapeutic relief.
Since its inception, the organisation has trained more than 200 women, with 150 currently employed.
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