Categories DesignPosted on

A Stitch in Time: SEP Jordan


SEEN had the most inspiring time recently talking to the founders of SEP Jordan, a Social Enterprise Project based in the Jerash refugee camp, where skilled embroiderers are reviving their ancient heritage and rebuilding their lives by hand-embroidering high-quality materials to be made into garments, accessories and homewares, for sale globally.

The ladies of Jerash camp – many of whom were depressed and traumatised when they first arrived – are now able to build a business by devoting themselves to exquisite cross-stitch embroidery, thereby bettering their financial and psychological circumstances in the short and long-term. Everyone benefits; the ladies’ families and also the wider community.


The designs are based on traditional Islamic patterns, in which there is to be found a spirituality that reaches across all social and religious divides. Mathematics is, after all, the language of the Universe. These intricate and hypnotic patterns are created entirely by hand. Other heart and flower motifs are created using techniques that were thought to be extinct: a powerful metaphor for survival. From tote bags and bright red-patterned scarves to waffle towels and treasurable cashmere scarves; a painstaking process of experimentation and rigorous quality control means that if you look after your SEP Jordan item, you’ll have it for years.


SEP Jordan has also been involved – in embroidering entirely freehand – garments in the upcoming film on the life of Mary Magdalene. The techniques used for the film’s costumes date from biblical times. Set to be released in 2017, the film stars Rooney Mara, Joaquin Phoenix and Chiwetel Ejiofor.


SEP is due to set up a permanent shop in Maison Objet in Paris, next year, and is available in small boutiques in London. Their true home though must surely be Liberty or Selfridges. The quality is second-to-none, the products are truly beautiful and made with the proper regard to the environment and sustainability. Added to that the knowledge that the money the customer spends goes back in to giving refugees a chance to rebuild their lives makes SEP Jordan a brand to be admired, and an exemplar of how fashion can be a force for beneficial change on so many levels.


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Seen this week

Categories FashionPosted on

Colour Smudging by Hare and Bone

With Pride upon us and Festival season well under way, it’s good to ring the changes with your hair. SEEN loves walking about in London, just for the sheer creativity that Londoners and visitors alike display in their choice of hair colours.

Categories NewsPosted on

Somewhere Over the Reignbow: LGBT Rights Protected in Queen’s Speech

With all the recent sombre news, coupled with the feeling that communities in cities are experiencing particular oppression, it is indeed heartening to hear the following words in the Queen’s speech: “My government will make further progress to tackle the gender pay gap and discrimination against people on the basis of their race, faith, gender, …

Categories Food&DrinkPosted on

Oh to be at Camino Bankside Now that Summer is Here

With temperatures set to soar as though it was 1976 (SEEN remembers sweltering through that), your best bet is to get anywhere by the river Thames, where the views are gobsmacking, and the food is fabulous. Like last year, London is awash with marvellous gins – and let’s remind ourselves, if you drink gin you are partaking in a resonant and historical pastime that is inextricably linked to London’s rich, vibrant and – dare we say it – dark past.

Categories ArtPosted on

Kieren Hughes: Urban Dreamscape

SEEN was instantly captivated by the work of the Cheltenham-born artist Kieren Hughes recently. His unsettling images seem born of modern-day anxieties about urban living, as in Chicago Fever Dream or the privileges accrued by a rich elite, as in The Last Privilege of an Oil Man.