Tala Barbotin Khalidy

united states
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united states
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Collection – SIRA

Sira consists of a system iteration and a collection of garments and accessories that focus on revaluing embroidery as a craft and explore its potential as a healing therapy method.

My personal experience with embroidery led me to research its use as a therapy method, and it was my belief entering this collaboration that embroidery had the potential to become a powerful tool in trauma healing, if it were introduced and spread as a service in the human advocacy community. I therefore entered a collaboration with the Womankind organization to provide and teach mindful embroidery workshops to victims of domestic abuse, human trafficking and sexual violence.

This part of Sira aims to apply the notion of embroidery as therapy in the context of a weekly encounter at a Womankind residence, where participants have the opportunity to develop mentally and spiritually in a safe space, by learning how to master embroidery techniques. With these embroidery workshops, I hope to find ways for participants to work through trauma and restore confidence in themselves using the benefits of craft methods.


The second part of Sira is axed on developing new methods to restore the value of embroidery as an interactional craft.

In order to achieve this, in place of using machine sewing to assemble garment parts, embroidery motifs hold parts of the clothes together. This process allows us to reconsider embroidery in a functional way, as opposed to serving only a decorational purpose, which shifts our relationship towards craftsmanship and reconnects us with it.

Having Lebanese origins, I was able to observe that a great part of embroidery work from the Middle East had been disregarded or forgotten over time, due to generation shifts and the world distantiating itself from the Middle East and its heritage. Traditional and contemporary uses of embroidery stemming partly from the Middle East were combined in order to create textiles that reappraise cultural heritage in a contemporary way. This brings awareness to forgotten techniques, our consideration of hand skills and our relationship with clothing in a world of mass production and cheap unethical labor.
Tala Barbotin Khalidy was exposed to fashion design from an early age by walking the streets of Paris growing up and through her interactions with Lebanese craftsmen at her grandmother’s store. She developed an awareness of intercultural exchanges in textiles that increased during her studies at Parsons: The New School for Design. All aspects of her work present a strong appeal toward the ideas of social and cultural interaction, influenced by her background and work experience in Paris, Beirut, and New York. An initial interest in hand sewing and embroidery has deepened over time by skills in sewing, pattern making, and draping; a focused interest in handcraft has enriched through textile experimentations such as hand knitting, weaving, screen and block printing, and natural dyeing techniques. Her current practice places a continuing emphasis on embroidery as well as sustainable and ethical fashion alternatives.