“Connecting cultures through fashion”
Women on the Way is a social start-up that creates unique design while employing women refugees in Serbia. Women refugees produce sustainable fashion pieces inspired by their cultures and 50% profit goes to them. When purchasing our products or participating in our projects, you empower women refugees in Serbia.
Women on the Way clothes and accessories are uniquely designed and made by women refugees. Cultures of their homelands are deeply embedded into each piece we create. They carry a story, a journey and hope for a better future.
We like to think of our products as “an intercultural bridge” between cultures women refugees come from, and cultures they are seeking a new life in. We explore similarities in traditional motives and patterns, combine them and apply them on our products. Each piece of clothing has a story, it’s just that we bring it to life in a new light.
We want our planet to be clean and healthy for us and future generations, that’s why our clothes and accessories are made of natural or recycled materials. We teamed up with women from Ženski centre Užice, and NGO that recycles textile.
How we work
Women refugees who applied for asylum in Serbia face many challenges but mostly lack of employment opportunities and social isolation. Asylum processes in Serbia last a long time, sometimes 3 to 5 years, so imagine the psychological and economical effects it has on both women refugees and their families.
So we teamed up with a local NGO Belgrade Centre for Human Rights which works with refugees on a daily basis. BCHR helps us find women refugees interested in sewing and employment, we provide them with work.
It all started when Katarina conducted research with refugee women for her master’s thesis. The results of the study and making personal friendships with refugee women prompted her to come up with the idea that would benefit them.
At that time, Farimah led the Informal group of women refugees called Women on the Way. The group painted used clothes while creating a space for women refugees to break from social isolation. Katarina merged the social business idea with Farimah’s design talent.
Katarina and Lola are sisters, and as it usually goes – the older one convinces the younger to work together, and that’s how Women on the Way team was created.
The leading problem solver. Communicator. Has a master’s degree in intercultural dialogue. Team leader. Lola’s sister.
Digital designer. Computer animation savvy. Believes in solving social challenges through design and creativity. Katarina’s sister.
Designer and painter. Creator of Women on the Way name, logo and first collection.