A Modern Take on Traditions

Text by: Maggie Alva // Photo: Maren Garberg Bredesen 

Published: 12 November 2019

Attor is a collection of toiletry and makeup bags, and the small brand, established by Maren Garberg Bredesen from Oslo, Norway, is the creative culmination of her one and a half year stay in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, and a tribute to the impressive cultural heritage of Tajikistan and its neighbours.

Bredesen is a political scientist who worked for an intergovernmental organization in Dushanbe, the capital of the Central Asian country of Tajikistan, from 2018 – 2019. During her travels, she came across the beautiful atlas fabric, which traditionally has been given as a dowry when a Tajik daughter gets married. Made according to the ikat dying technique, the colours are dyed onto the threads just before the fabric is woven, something that creates a distinct pattern. The vivid beauty of the atlas dates back to the time of the ancient Silk Road: legend has it that the blurry patterns illustrate the reflection of clouds in a running stream.

“Legend has it that the blurry patterns illustrate

the reflection of clouds in a running stream”

What we love about this collection is that it uses old fabrics in new ways: as the tide of changing fashions has put most of the atlas in the back of dusty closets in Tajik towns and villages, some of the re-purposed fabrics are up to 100 years old! The Attor project really is about bringing traditional fabrics back to life - collected from neighbours and from strangers in bazaars, each piece of fabric in the collection is unique, and speaks the story of a Tajik woman. 

In addition to being an environmental friendly way of creating useful objects, Attor is also supporting women in Tajikistan: the bags are made in collaboration with the NGO Development of Folk Crafts and Young Designers, which has a special, twofold mandate: it works to preserve Tajikistan’s rich tradition of handicrafts and designs - among them the local styles of embroidery and stitching - and to empower the local community by hiring women from vulnerable families. In this way, they gain both skills and a stable income, so they can support their families and also gain a footing in a heavily patriarchal society.
 

Are you in need of a new bag and this sounds like something you’d support? You can find Attor at Object etc. in Oslo, Norway.