Popular Afghan singer Aryana Sayeed opened a store in Kabul on Wednesday with a fashion show of her clothing brand.
The performer said that she spent 8 million Afs (about $100,000) to create a factory to produce her products in Kabul.
The clothing features modern designs sewn by Afghan women. The store officially opened after a fashion show with models walking a red carpet.
"When we have our own products, why do we want to produce abroad? said Farzaneh Roshandel, a tailor, adding: “I am very happy, we want the government to provide us with the same facilities, we want to do a good job.”
Aryana Sayeed and her production people have been working for almost a year to bring their clothes to the market.
"Part of the work is done by men and part by women,” Aryana Sayeed said at the opening ceremony. “The clothes that we make are mostly focused on having an Afghan cultural style in addition to being modern.”
“It is the women who use their art of embroidery,” she said.
Currently, a total of ten men and women are working at the Aryana brand factory and Sheela Ahamdi is one of them.
Sheela Ahmadi attended the opening ceremony to see the clothes that she and her colleagues worked on for months.
"The best clothes are made by Aryana Jan. Because in Afghanistan and in such a situation, it is great for women to invest and create jobs for other women," she said.
Aryana Sayeed opened her brand with standards that are intended to interest international consumers.
Aryana is a singer, songwriter, and TV personality from Afghanistan. Born in 1985 in Kabul to a Pashto-speaking father and a Dari-speaking mother, Aryana left her country when she was eight years old.
Her family migrated to Switzerland via Pakistan, and it was in choirs in her Swiss schools that Aryana realized she wanted to make a career out of singing.
In 2008, she rose to fame with the release of her first single “MashaAllah." After the release of her song “Afghan Pesarak”, she became a household name among Afghans.
Since then, she has performed regularly in concerts, TV shows, and philanthropic festivals, both within and outside of Afghanistan.
In her brief career, Aryana has already won multiple awards, including Best New Female Artist of the Year, Best Female Artist of the Year (five times), Best Live Performer, Best Song of the Year, Best Video of the Year, and Best Afghan Woman Icon. In 2013, Aryana was granted the title of “Star of Voice” (Sitara-e Aawaaz) by the International Afghan Artists Association.
Aryana’s music videos have obtained millions of views on YouTube, and she also has the biggest following of any Afghan artist on social media.
Her clothing launch comes amid great uncertainty within the country as foreign troops are leaving Afghanistan and the Taliban has escalated the war. Afghan women are concerned about their rights.
On Tuesday, a member of the High Council for National Reconciliation (HCNR) said that the Taliban has no commitment to the rights of Afghan women or to the nation’s constitution.
Zuhra Mutahhar, the deputy head of HCNR, said that while the Afghan government is trying for peace, the Taliban are increasing their violence.
“The Taliban are not committed to the Constitution, the Taliban are not committed to the rights of women, the Taliban are not committed to the elections, the Taliban are not committed to the progress of women nor to this system,” she said.
The remarks were made at a gathering of the women's committee of the HCNR.
Speakers at the gathering called on the Taliban to stop the war and work for peace.
“We should come together for the political settlement in Afghanistan, the 40 years of conflict in Afghanistan must be resolved, the Afghan people want a sustainable, just and dignified peace,” said Dr. Alima, the deputy minister of women’s affairs.
“The women have always campaigned for peace,” said Safia Sediqqi, a member of the women’s committee of the HCNR.
On Wednesday, former US president George W. Bush criticized the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan and said civilians were being left to be "slaughtered" by the Taliban.
"I think the consequences are going to be unbelievably bad," he told German broadcaster Deutsche Welle.
"Afghan women and girls are going to suffer unspeakable harm. This is a mistake. ... They're just going to be left behind to be slaughtered by these very brutal people, and it breaks my heart," he said.
NATO also announced that it would follow Biden’s announcement. Most of the 2,500 US and 7,500 NATO troops who were in Afghanistan before US President Biden’s announcement have since left Afghanistan.