A new handbag label that helps women in Pakistan

Saba Gul’s Popinjay trains and employs women denied an education

When Pakistan-born, US-educated Saba Gul heard about an Afghan girl called Azaada Khan, who in the 1990s disguised herself as a boy for 12 years so she could attend school, she decided to do something to help women who missed out on an education.


In 2011, Gul moved back to Pakistan and in autumn 2013 set up handbag label Popinjay, which produces handcrafted, intricately embroidered designs using locally sourced leather. She now employs over 150 women who are taught to work with super-fine silk threads, for which they are paid up to three times the market rate. “Most of our artisans are women who were unable to get an education,” says the company’s creative director, Adil Iqbal. “Earning a good wage gives them confidence to contribute in this highly patriarchal community, and the money goes towards educating their children, food and healthcare.”

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