Spotlight on Zarif

Spotlight on Zarif Title Image with a selection of models in Zarif designs
Written by Katie Elizabeth Robinson

Much of the One Wear Freedom collection comes from the generous donations of family and friends, including vintage, pre-loved, special occasion garments that have served their purpose for the original owner but have a lot more life in them.

When we do add something new to our collections, we work closely with the artisans to ensure the pieces have been ethically sourced, with sustainability in mind throughout the production process.

Zarif is one such artisan making everything with intent through the art of Slow Production: an holistic approach to unifying sustainability with ethics through Fairtrade practices and the use of natural materials and dyes, focusing on quality over quantity.

“Zarif's primary mission is to revive Afghanistan's artistic culture, providing training and job opportunities for Afghans, mostly women; using fashion as a way to connect and empower communities of weavers, tailors, and embroiderers.”

Zolaykha Sherzad, Founder and Creative Director of Zarif, initially fled Afghanistan with her family to live in Switzerland as political refugees when she was just 11. Returning to the country in 2005, she wanted to challenge the worldview of Afghanistan and celebrate the beauty that resides in her country through the ancient, traditional skills that she could see were endangered, such as the production of silk, the dying of natural fibres and the arts of weaving and handmade embroidery.

From the very beginning, Zarif has been about the human and social relationships bringing people together through the creation of clothes. There is so much power in creativity and Zarif is using it to build peace by connecting artisans from different provinces and building bridges between different cultures. You can find out more about the rich heritage celebrated in their collections through Barmak Akram’s stunning film for Zarif.

Every piece is unique, entirely handmade in Kabul using natural, local fibres and dyes, created with care and attention to detail. The pieces tell the stories of the talented men and women who make them and contribute to their economic sustainability. Not only are they empowered to find pride in their cultural identity but Zarif’s signature jackets, coats and waistcoats also challenge established dress codes, promoting an equality between men and women.

“dignity, confidence and cultural identity thrive.”

We are honoured to partner with Zarif and very excited to show off their unique pieces with you on this gloriously long, bank holiday weekend!

Two Photos of the Afghan Desert Maxi Coat and Trouser Suit

When the Rule of 6 was first offered to us we skipped straight into Summer and couldn’t wait to pull out our dresses and skirts. It’s a bit chilly this time round though right? If you fancy trying out some warm ensembles but don’t want to fork out for a new Winter wardrobe this close to Spring, welcome to the beauty of renting!

You can certainly wrap up warm in this Afghan Desert Maxi Coat or wear it loose when the sun is shining to really show off the matching trousers. If you’re anything like us, you also have a borderline obsession with pockets and these trousers include well-tailored, zipped pockets to hold on to all the usual (and new), essential items for leaving the house. 

We paired it with a complimentary fitted top to really highlight the tailoring of the suit but the beauty of the multi-coloured trim lends this outfit to a variety of pairings: throw some contrast in here with a floral top picking out the colours from the tribal patterns or pair with a sharp shirt if you’re heading into the office.

Two Photos of the Jacquard Pashmina Coat

Have you ever seen anything as exquisite as this Traditional Scarlett Jacquard Pashmina Coat?! 

This is the season to play around with coats and jackets and this Pashmina Coat makes for the perfect focus of any outfit, featuring stunning cashmere spun into intricate, traditional patterns. We still can’t get over how delicately the side pockets have been incorporated into the patterns too (told you we’re obsessed with pockets).

The options for this Coat really are endless as it makes the ideal outer layer to match with an elegant dress for a special occasion, a sophisticated jacket for a business meeting or the simple envy of your family and friends when you meet up outdoors rocking effortless style with unique grace.

Two Photos of the Ivory Bombyx Mori Maxi Jacket and Trouser Suit

You know those outfits that make you feel invincible? This Ivory Bombyx Mori Maxi Jacket and Trouser Suit is one of them.

We’ve picked out another of Zarif’s Jacket and Trouser combos as it ‘tis the season and chosen to feature this one in particular because of its expression of the elegance and sophistication of Zarif’s superior tailoring and exquisite choice of materials. 

The simplicity of the white spun silk lends itself to any additions you want to make. We paired it with a tropical silk shirt for a pop of colour and a chunky shoe for a less formal event and it’s just as easy to dress up with a simple heel. I’m sure you’ve already started picturing all the items in your wardrobe that would go perfectly with this outfit so check it out and book your delivery date!

Two Photos of the Afghan Gold Bombyx Mori Maxi Dress

Whilst we don’t want to get our hopes up too high (our emotions couldn’t take it at this point), our roadmap out of lockdown looks like we can start reorganising those events and parties we cancelled over the past year and what’s Winter without a little hope that a sunnier Spring is coming?

If you’ve already started piecing together your mood boards and wish lists for your social calendar wardrobe, this handmade, silk Afghan Gold Bombyx Mori Maxi Dress is perfect for any elegant occasion. The simplicity of the cut of the dress and soft drapery of the silk is brought to life with delicate yet bold Pashto calligraphy, printed with natural dyes. A-line dresses aren’t always the easiest to wear for all but the long, free-flowing pleated collar accentuates the dress in all the right places.

Not only will you avoid outfit repeating by renting this dress but you’re guaranteed to be the only one wearing it as this is a one-of-a-kind design from Zarif.

Two Photos of the Earth, Wind and Fire Flax Dungaree

This Earth, Wind and Fire Flax Dungaree is Summer goals!

The Linen Tie-Dye Tribal Print shows off Zarif’s use of natural dyes and makes this an incredibly versatile piece to match with your own wardrobe. We paired it with a lime green bandeau and sunshine yellow trainers showing how easy it is to play around with the earthy-colour tones.

Festivals look promising again this Summer so book this one into your calendars or get your hands on it for casual sunny days and garden parties.

This is just a small glimpse of the unique Zarif pieces in the One Wear Freedom collections so head over to check out all of their beautiful and versatile garments. 

We work with Traditional Artisans across the world, from Afghanistan to Georgia, Papua New Guinea, India, South Africa and Fiji and in the future, we hope to collaborate with even more incredible and innovative sustainable brands. Try searching any of these countries in the Search Bar (top left corner) to find their creations and check out all of our pledges to protect Mother Nature to discover how we source all our garments sustainably and ethically.


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