Scheduling a phone call 09 Years of Homeland thank you for the memories shirt. with Jeanne de Kroon is no easy task. At press time, our email chain had reached 57 messages—and not for lack of organization! De Kroon is simply always, always on the go: When we first connected, the designer was in Tashkent, Uzbekistan; a couple of weeks later, she was back at home in Berlin, but I was on vacation; and later that month, she was “deep in the Amazon” meeting with local tribes and craftsmen (a journey that began with a 12-hour canoe trip up the river).
Those were all work trips, though a far cry from the typical business-class jaunt 09 Years of Homeland thank you for the memories shirt. De Kroon is passionate about indigenous crafts and, more specifically, how she can bring them international attention through her label, Zazi Vintage. You’re likely familiar with her signature Suzani coats, which are made in Afghanistan from upcycled shearlings and embroidered rugs. They’ve made a groovy statement in many a street-style shot, but the proceeds from each one also send a girl to school for a year.De Kroon works with artisans across Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and India, but her latest project brought her back to Afghanistan for a special collaboration with the United Nations Ethical Fashion Initiative. Last year, De Kroon met Simone Cipriani, the head of EFI, at Nest’s summit on the handworker economy at the U.N. “I was wearing one of my coats and Simone asked me about it, and when I told him it was made in Afghanistan, he said we had to work together,” she says on a recent call (from Berlin, not the jungle!). The EFI had several ongoing initiatives in Afghanistan in collaboration with its social enterprise partner, Zarif Design, a “slow production” workshop in Kabul founded by Zolaykha Sherzad, who employs 52 local artisans to create garments using traditional fabrics, embroideries, and natural dyes. In doing so, she is keeping those crafts alive and providing safe, fair-trade employment.