Asha Pabla holds degrees in design and has worked extensively in the New York fashion and textile industries. She also supports a range of philanthropic causes and has served as a volunteer with the League of Artisans. Asha Pabla’s love for the handmade jewelry of craftswomen from around the world has given her particular respect for the challenges indigenous and rural workers face.
The League of Artisans has worked to highlight the artistic and economic contributions made by female artisans in under-resourced and tribal communities to help improve the daily lives of these craftspeople. Through the efforts of the League and its supporters, increasing numbers of women around the world have been able to achieve sustainable livelihoods and better provide for themselves and their families.
The non-partisan, secular League also dedicated itself to an effort to ensure protection for tribal and indigenous artwork, art forms, and natural environments.
Outside the work of the League of Artisans in New York, a number of other organizations dedicated to empowering female craftspeople have arisen around the world over the years. Many of these, such as the Mexico-based Mujeres Sembrando la Vida (“Women Sowing Life”) are directed by the craftswomen themselves for their cooperative benefit.
Asha Pabla holds degrees in design from what is now Philadelphia University and Parsons School of Design. Her love of fabric and fashion compelled her to accept management positions in the garment industry, culminating in a design position at Liz Claiborne. In addition to this practical experience, Asha Pabla has thought extensively about the economic and social impacts of the fashion industry.
When customers buy clothing from well-known design houses, they understand that they are paying more for the quality of planning, execution, and materials involved. American designers such as Marc Jacobs, Phillip Lim, and Narciso Rodriguez offer looks that blend cutting-edge design and an architectural quality of construction with classic elegance.
Yet, a vigorous worldwide “fast-fashion” industry exists side by side with these marquee fashion names, copying runway trends to turn a quick profit. Additionally, companies churn out numerous “knock-off” labels for sale at low prices. In many cases, the factory conditions for the manufacture of these fast-fashion looks are subpar, exploiting workers outside the reach of American and European regulations about fair labor conditions.
The press has reported extensively on dangerous environments in non-Western garment factories, where most of the employees are female. Toxic elements such as lead can accumulate in workers’ bodies, their workplaces may catch fire, and they often suffer harassment.
Advocates now ask Western customers to look more closely at the labels they buy to make fashion truly beautiful for everyone whose life it touches.
Artisan Asha Pabla Frequents the New York Art Scene