Close readers of this website at some point may stumble across the links to the (two) photo albums in the left column. One of the albums documents my travels around northern India and Pakistan in summer 2001. For the Pakistan leg of that journey, I was accompanied byok, led around bymy friend Sarah, an Iranian by birth who grew up in the U.S. before rediscovering a fascination with Central Asia in her 20′s.
The trip was revelatoryboth in the moment and in retrospect. Though we experienced a life’s worth of natural beauty in the Himalayas, we felt the grip of fundamentalism in Peshawar, where street vendors hawked Bin Laden t-shirts several months before his face became fashionable in the west, and a young Afghan refugee, who spoke perfect English, talked to us at length about his family’s plight. The conversation sticks with me; if I close my eyes, I can hear the inflections of his speech, the tone of voice that spoke unpityingly, straightforwardly, of his life.
It stuck with Sarah too. Taking up at Haas just weeks after the journey, she set to work on a business concept. The idea: create a line of Afghan-inspired fashionwear suitable for the finest fashion circles in NYC that would be made by women in Kabul for above-market wages. (Here’s the full story.) The first pieces were ready a year later, and this past spring, after the concept won a national business plan competition, the companyTarsian and Blinkleywas born.
We’ve been following the story with rapt interest, but haven’t posted about T&B before. Now, though, we get the sense it’s ready to break big. They’ve launched a new website for the holiday season, which includes Sarah’s Kabul notebook from August (with pictures, like the one of her here) and her thoughts on getting her products into stores stateside, plus a full product catalog. Apparently, the first deliveries recently sold out at Lucky fave Butter in Cobble Hill*. If you’re a retailer, they’re looking for more accounts; if you’re a consumer… well, you know what to do.
· Tarsian & Blinkley [tarsian.com]
· T&B Catalog [tarsian.com]
· Tarsian’s Diary: Kabul, August 2003 [tarsian.com]
· Travels In India/Pakistan 2001 [ls.com]
* not that we read Lucky. Or anything.