Saru Fashion: Preserving Arab culture through ready-to-wear designs

(Photos: Handouts from Saru Fashion)
AMMAN — Majida Abu Zaghlan founded Saru Fashion with a mission to reintroduce Arab embroidery to Jordanian fashion. Showcasing an array of handmade designs by local artisans, the online brand collides the traditional with the modern, appealing to today’s hardworking youth, all while giving back to local communities and empowering women. اضافة اعلان

Majida Abu Zaghlan, founder and creative director of Saru Fashion, is pictured in this undated photo. (Photos: Handouts from Saru Fashion)

 “The main concept is to make handmade embroidered items that people want to buy,” Abu Zaghlan told Jordan News in a recent interview.

 Saru is Palestinian embroidery, whose designs are distinguished by needlework shapes, their placement on the garment, and the colors of threads and materials. In the past, variations in shape and design served as visual cues to identify cities of origin, as each Palestinian city had its own style of embroidery.

“Women from different areas made each stitch differently, and I found this fascinating, so I named my fashion brand Saru Fashion,” said Abu Zaghlan.
Products and collections

Saru Fashion started with scarves, but today, the brand offers a wide selection of clothes, such as shirts, t-shirts, hoodies, skirts, and bags, among other items. 

“We started with simple pieces and started to create more complicated pieces,” she said. 

(Photos: Handouts from Saru Fashion)

Additionally, in 2019, Saru Fashion created a line for bespoke, high-end pieces, under the name of Saru Elite. Abu Zaghlan stated that there was great demand from the brand’s ready-to-wear brand customers for the Saru Elite products, which are suitable for formal occasions.

She added that Saru Fashion is in a continuous phase of development, which witnessed staggering developments between 2011 and 2021. The online brand used to launch collections biannually, but during the pandemic, it started selling individual designs.

In addition to handmade embroidery, Saru Fashion launched a digital embroidery collection, which relied on sewing and embroidery machines.

“Due to a financial challenge, we turned to digital embroidery, which turned out to be a great experience,” she said.

Saru also offers embroidery kits, embroidered items, and digital embroidery designs. Since its founding, the brand released seven embroidery kits for ten embroidery techniques, ranging from beginner to expert.
Collaborating with local artisans

Saru Fashion devoted itself to working with the Gaza Refugee Camp in 2016. Over the past three years, the brand has launched programs to employ 130 artisans from the Gaza Refugee Camp in Jerash. Additionally, in 2021, the brand plans to provide sustainable income to more than 74 households in the camp.

(Photos: Handouts from Saru Fashion)

According to Abu Zaghlan, during the COVID-19 pandemic, Saru Fashion was able to conduct virtual training courses, utilizing high-quality videos on a private YouTube channel, PowerPoint presentations, and interactive material.

Alaa Abu Ayyad, trainer at Saru Fashion, told Jordan News that she joined Saru Fashion in 2019. Her first training session, she said, was held in Azraq Refugee Camp. 

The Saru Fashion team provides training outside of Jordan. However, since the onset of the COVID pandemic, all workshop sessions have been conducted online.

“My experience with Saru Fashion was very enjoyable, and I personally have benefited from it,” said Abu Ayyad.

Each session, she said, consists of 20 women and two shifts — morning and evening. The women are provided with all the tools and materials they need.

“Women are trained in a variety of stitches, so their skills improve dramatically,” the trainer said.

(Photos: Handouts from Saru Fashion)

Abu Ayyad went on to say that Saru Fashion offers women a skill that allows them to work, which has a positive impact on their life. 

Recently, Saru Fashion established the Saru Center for Crafts and Community Development in collaboration with UNICEF Jordan, which provides a space for embroidery training and advocacy for Jordanian and Palestinian skills, particularly for girls and women between 17 and 24.

“Saru center is a safe space for women, to gather, work, and socialize, and for entertainment and other events such as spa days, medical checkups, brunches, and activities for children,” said Abu Zaghlan.

Read more Fashion