Three handcrafted designs that honor and preserve women’s legacy
2022 International Women’s Day aims to put together efforts to achieve gender equality, a goal that GAN has pursued since its inception.
Since the beginning, GAN has celebrated the contribution of women to the world of design, in all its aspects: from ideation to the artisanal manufacture of its collections. Today, GAN continues to develop innovative collections by focusing on sustainability, the recovery of ancestral techniques, and the value of women as a decisive engine of entrepreneurial initiatives.
NDEBELE, BANDAS, and CHADDAR are very different rugs but they also have a lot in common: they have been designed by women for GAN and, in addition, the inspiration and the manufacturing processes that define them are also explained in feminine key.
NDEBELE and its tribute to African women’s art
Throughout its history, GAN has fostered collaborations with designers with a rich and diverse approach to design and craftsmanship. Sandra Figuerola, the author of collections such as GLAOUI, CATANIA, or TASILI, is one of them.
Figuerola is also the creator of NDEBELE, inspired by the art of African villages and from which this collection of kilims takes its name. Ndebele art, typical of northern South Africa, is known for its colorful geometric murals, hand-painted by women, who pass on their knowledge about this artistic expression from generation to generation from very early ages. In addition to its cultural and social function, this activity contributes to the greater economic independence of its creators.
Sandra Figuerola’s graphic reading combines intense tones, bold patterns, and geometric strokes. The bright colours and motifs of the NDEBELE rugs pay tribute to the skill of these African artists through ethnic style pieces reinterpreted in a contemporary language.
BANDAS, the origin of GAN Women Unit
Its calling to explore new creative opportunities for traditional techniques has led GAN to consolidate a manufacturing method that both preserves and renews craftsmanship while expanding the universe of contemporary design. With this vision in mind, and thanks to the connection between the designer Patricia Urquiola and GAN’s creative director Mapi Millet, BANDAS came to be.
More than a decade ago, this collection was the beginning of the GAN Women Unit. The women’s empowerment project started off with a community of women who had been left without work after the closure of local workshops. Patricia and Mapi searched for ways to apply design to the skills of artisans and they came up with the idea of using embroidery, a technique that has become a valuable tool of the project along with other techniques such as crochet and needlepoint.
BANDAS took four years to see the light, as it had to be adjusted from multiple perspectives: the pieces had to be rolled up to be easily transported and, in turn, allow women to work in their homes, seated, over their skirts. What at first seemed a limitation -each rug could not be more than 60cm wide- ended up becoming the seed of modular rugs, an avant-garde concept that made BANDAS a total success. These narrow rugs allow for multiple combinations when joined by Velcro strips and also function as the cover of poufs, cushions, and chaise longues. In its ten versions, BANDAS combines virgin wool in various thicknesses and three different techniques: handloom, embroidery, and crochet.
Today, the GAN Women Unit is made up of about thirty women living in rural India, in the state of Uttar Pradesh, and who are involved in the artisanal manufacturing of many GAN collections, as more and more designers become involved with the project. The growth of this initiative responds to the will of the company to promote mutual cultural enrichment and contribute to the economic self-sufficiency and decision-making power of women in this area through stable and fairly remunerated work.
CHADDAR, women mastering the art of weaving
Charlotte Lancelot’s recent creation for GAN, CHADDAR, underscores her passion for knitting, traditionally associated with women. For decades, sewing and weaving were attributed to a domestic archetype that perpetuated traditional gender roles. However, these activities also promoted the generation of social communities and even their political and feminist active participation.
CANEVAS, SILAÏ, and, of course, CHADDAR, are some of Charlotte’s designs born to update techniques such as cross-stitch or petit point, resized and translated into collections of rugs and contemporary spaces after deep research and development. In this way, Charlotte and GAN claim the art of these methods which, for too long, had been undervalued and downgraded to the domestic sphere.
CHADDAR stands out for its thick and welcoming look and it is presented in four natural colours, perfect for any environment that requires an extra texture and warmth. The details of the rugs, poufs, and cushions, hand-embroidered with wool yarn, convey the richness of an internationally recognized and admired art.
This year, GAN and its team, made up mostly of women, encourage you to celebrate International Women’s Day by contributing to the creation of a world free of discrimination, diverse and fair. Let’s continue to weave a world of rights and freedoms for all women!