A Toronto-based designer from Regina is returning to her home province this weekend to see her latest designs hit the Sask Fashion Week runway.
As part of the three-day event, Eman Bare will show her latest collection on Saturday night.
The designer, writer and former journalist at CBC Saskatchewan is giving a little more depth to the world of fashion with her collection focused on ethics and empowerment of women.
With a recent brand expansion, Bare said she wanted to work with women from marginalized communities from all around the world.
Her last collection of accessories was made in Malaysia and Morocco by a few select women she found through social media or friends of friends.
A goal of empowering women
“These were women who would use the money I sent them through Western Union to pay for their kids’ school fees,” she said.
One of the women, Asima, left her native country of Myanmar, also known as Burma, to find work at a women’s collective in Malaysia.
This meant leaving three of her kids behind with her parents because she couldn’t find work.
“To her it was either separate her family or not feed her children,” Bare said.
Each turban in Bare’s collection is made by Asima. The mother, with whom Bare said she’s become very close, was only able to take her youngest daughter with her and has hopes of reuniting her family.
“For me … it’s become, how do I make this so that she can go back to Burma? How do I train her to do the work that she does, but work from home so she can be back with her kids?” said Bare, who added her company is about more than just business transactions.
“How can we, as women, support each other all over the world?”
Bare said her next collection will be made by creators in Bangladesh, a place she said she thought she never wanted to do business in because of its connection to sweatshops.
“They actually have a thriving fashion industry. It’s just, they have different grades of factories,” Bare explained. “Big manufacturing companies choose to work with C-grade-level factories that are known for their unethical practices.”
She said she is working to remind consumers that they make the decisions on whether companies use big sweatshops by buying from them and therefore supporting that practice.
“By educating on why it’s harmful, I’m hoping that I can help people make a decision towards something that’s either locally made or ethically made in another country,” she said.
Bare’s collection will be featured in the Saturday night runway show at Sound Stage, which is set to get going at 7 p.m.
She said you can expect a line that brings together different aspects of her heritage and upbringing.
“My clothing line is like my childhood and my experiences growing up as a Somali-Ethiopian-Saskatchewan person,” she said. “Being Canadian means being more than just one culture. For me, it’s like eating samosas at hockey games — which my family grew up doing.”