made by women

simétrie | International Womens Day 2020

 

Women are an integral part of the simétrie story. We make handbags for women, and they are handcrafted by women too.

This International Women’s Day I wanted to highlight 2 x very important women who are currently working with me, who help me to make the bag collections come to life - Amy & Sharifa. These women love crafting, and they share the same feeling I get when I am crafting too. Together we make bags that are beautiful, that help women to feel beautiful too.

To me, International Women’s Day is a day about honouring women, recognising women’s work, & lifting women – so they we may continue working hard to achieve equilibrium.

I asked Amy & Sharifa about their craft, what International Women’s Day means to them & how they came to work with me.

 

Amy

amy | simétrie

Tell us a bit about your background as a craftswoman, and why you love making.

I grew up in a creatively rich community in the hills of Perth and have been making in one form or another as long as I can remember. I've always been drawn to accessories - I started out in jewellery but fell in love with working with leather and have spent the last number of years between New York and Melbourne studying and working in that field. Making is a strange endeavour as it's an often a solitary undertaking but is always tied to culture, utilising skills that have been accumulated over generations and often passed down hand-to-hand. I love the duality of this, spending hours alone, refining, experimenting, making mistakes, all to create something that is effectively a love letter to your culture and community, that only has meaning once it exists outside the walls of your studio.

What does IWD mean to you?

To me, IWD is a day to reflect on the contributions of women throughout history, often made behind the scenes, often unappreciated and uncompensated, and to consider our own role and contribution to the histories that are being written now. Are we using our skills and voices to uplift women, not only in our immediate circle, but around the world? Are our choices as consumers contributing to equality and empowerment or to exploitation?

How did you come to work with simétrie, & which of the brand’s values align with you the most?

I started working with simétrie when on arriving back in Melbourne from a few years living overseas, I reached out to Simone wanting to connect with other makers and re-establish a community for myself here. Simone's dedication to slow fashion, beautiful craftsmanship and her love of the hand-made drew me to her work, and upon getting to know the brand, her support of women makers and commitment to an ethical, sustainable business model has made me a life-long fan!

What is your favourite product in the simétrie collection & why?

I have a real soft spot for the Thick Crescent Moon bag. I saw it being constructed for the first time and its evolution into a beautifully resolved piece as she tweaked and refined its design. Watching something go from concept to design to physical product is a beautiful reminder of the care, skill and love (and blood sweat and tears!) that go into the handmade.

 

Sharifa

sharifa | simétrie

Tell us a bit about your background as a craftswoman, and why you love making.

I didn’t see my grandmother, but I saw a lot of crafts from her. She used to make quilts. Mum was a really creative person too, she used to make wall hangings, saris, and quilts also – so it must’ve been in the family. I didn’t learn from my mum though; I watched her, and other people, and I taught myself how to make the same things. I really love to do handcrafting; it is my hobby. I love to make something new – I’ve made a lot in my life. Not only sewing, but embroidery, painting, wall hangings from wheatgrass, wall hangings with eggshells, & sequinning also. I make my own clothes too. Making makes me feel so happy. Every time I make something new, I love to learn new skills. I am known amongst my friends for always doing something with my hands. I am from Bangladesh originally and I moved to Australia in 2014. In Bangladesh I used to be a teacher at university in political science. So now my hobby is becoming my profession.

What does IWD mean to you?

It’s a special day for women, to show the importance of women. That we are something, and on this day, it makes me feel proud to be a woman. I’m also really proud to work with simétrie because I have new skills, and with these new skills I have confidence to work elsewhere. This is the first time I’ve had paid worked in Australia.

How did you come to work with simétrie, & which of the brand’s values align with you the most?

I was a student in the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, Simone was my sewing teacher and I wanted to learn from her more. I got the opportunity to work in her studio, I feel very comfortable to work with Simone. She is a boss, but she is more flexible and respectful than a usual boss. She helps me a lot. I can pray and I can be covered in the workplace. I feel lucky I have Simone. I like to work hard for her because she gives me a lot of freedom. The sewing and making skills I have learned with Simone, have been valuable for my work at Sister Works too. I teach some of the ladies there some of these skills as well. The value I love about simétrie the most is that it is handmade. There is a lot of time dedicated to that, you need to use your brain, your hands & your time. Handmade in Australia with Australian leather is really special as well.

What is your favourite product in the simétrie collection & why?

I love all the designs, I’ve never seen these type of handbag designs before, they are really unique. I love the crescent moon bag that I made in the workshop especially! I got to make my own bag and put my name on it. I actually don’t use it because I don’t want to spoil it!

sharifa | simétrie

 

Sim xx

 

* illustration by Bianca Balliro 

Read more

meet simétrie up close

meet simétrie up close

meet our artisan leathercraft makers

meet our artisan leathercraft makers

here’s why we make locally in Melbourne

here’s why we make locally in Melbourne

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