A Small Step for the Planet…A Giant Leap for Tight-Knit Syria

Now that TKS team members Dana and Alex have been in Lebanon for almost two months to work in the field full-time, we have finally been able to make some massive strides towards one of our long-term goals: embroidered pieces that are not only beautiful, but friendly towards both people and the planet! In the past we have resorted to working with some pre-made elements of purses that were readily available to our artisans in Shatila, but this fall we have finally been able to effect a major design overhaul, and we are excited to tell you all about it..! …

Looking Forward

Returning from a three week trip in Lebanon and settling back in Toronto hasn’t slowed down the momentum one bit. Instead, it only seems to be picking up. During our recent trip to Beirut, we’ve had the pleasure of visiting our artisans in Shatila refugee camp and touching base with our local partners. We also had the privilege of meeting with MADE 51, a new initiative by the UNHCR, to discuss a potential collaboration. We’re excited to say that words are now quickly moving into the realm of action!   For five years, Tight-Knit Syria has been consistently building on a …

Looking Back

When the Tight-Knit Syria team first met Malak, a thirty-nine-year old mother of six living in Shatila refugee camp, we were immediately struck by the loving, determined way she guided her large family through the poverty and hazards they found themselves in after fleeing their beloved home in Aleppo. What we did not realize yet was that her strength and passion were going to push dozens of women in her community forward, to create opportunity even in this unlikely place. Within the shadowy maze beyond Shatila’s gate, located in Southern Beirut, very little sunlight seeps in, creating an atmosphere that …

‘But Syriaously’: Connecting Worlds in an Evening of Film, Fashion and Food

For some, knitting is a hobby, a timeless activity that has been passed on by older generations. But to the refugee women in the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp of Northern Syria, it has become their livelihood. The hand-knitted and embroidered products that embellish the website of Tight-Knit Syria (TKS) have provided the women with a source of income, helping them become independent and productive members of their society. The financial independence, however, isn’t the only aspect of the project that makes Dana Kandalaft, founder of Tight-Knit Syria, gleam with pride. “Being creative is helping these women with their mental …

SHOOT for the Stars

It’s such a blessing getting the chance to work with talent from East to West and across the globe. A couple times a year, (our favourite time of year) is when we get to do it in the form of a… you got it!…PHOTOSHOOT! With our first shipment of unique embroidered accessories handmade by Syrian women living in Lebanon, we had a lot to work with… It was clear Venus and Saturn were in the works when I ran into Yara at the Ryerson Congress Market. Yara and her sister Jude are Toronto-based Instagram influencers through their dreamy alias known as The Selftimers. When she’s flying …

Do You Want to Destroy my Sweater?

I remember feeling like puking on my way to the WEAR 2016 where I was set to speak alongside many other panelists pushing for sustainability in the Fashion industry. I thought I had gotten used to speaking in front of an audience. This time however I was hit with a such a nervous wave, I could barely maintain small talk with my uber driver. Maybe one day someone will develop a time machine that allows us to push through those moments at lighting speed. Until then, it is so worth it to put yourself out there despite that knot in your stomach. …

Walls

When Trump blatantly laid out his plan for building a physical wall between Mexico and the US border, the idea was deemed so ridiculous it naturally reached viral status. Such a ‘concrete’ plan seemed especially foolish coming from someone with a reputation for delusional ideas. But (yes, there’s a but) in reality Trump will not always be around to humorously highlight the question around walls in general, which already happen to be everywhere around us. From political borders, to social classes to even our spiritual sources, whether they are physical and cost millions or invisible and cost us peace of mind, …

Barefooted Children

In mid-August I finally landed in Beirut sometime after midnight and swiftly took a cab to meet my roommate Genny at her hotel. In the heavy darkness of the hour, the hotel seemed like it was located in an obscure part of Beirut. But sooner or later, in the light of day, this obscure location would instead reveal itself as the very familiar Bliss Street, lining the North of the city. As the first days in Lebanon quickly matured into the first weeks, I would sooner than later become acquainted with the pristine sight of American University of Beirut, coffee shop dwellers and …

What Happens in Lebanon…Comes to Canada

It’s been about two months since I’ve returned from my 7 month trip to Lebanon. And as I sit in a good’ol Canadian coffee shop reflecting on what happened over the trip, my fingers feel heavy as I attempt to type out yet another overdue blog post. However, they’re not moving slowly due to the lack of material to share with you, instead they’re heavy from the weight in attempt to control the floodgate of emotions, memories and lessons that need to be squeezed into a bite sized blog post. I’ve been traveling by-annually for a couple weeks each time …

Project Shatila

Thank you!!! Our IndieGogo campaign for “Yarn & Hope for Syrian Refugees: Project Shatila” has raised $6,626USD!! Our goal was $5,000 and with your help we have surpassed it!! (We have also added a Donate Button so feel free to contribute what you can. Thank you!!) Here’s a little more on our campaign: The Story of Malak  Malak is a thirty-nine-year-old mother of six who lives in Shatila refugee camp in Beirut, Lebanon. The family hails from Aleppo in north-eastern Syria, but they have not seen their hometown since they fled ISIS a year and a half ago. Malak misses her home, …