Karishma Kasabia is a designer and mum based in Melbourne, who has spent her life across three countries: Fiji, New Zealand and Australia. She describes ‘I was born in Fiji, of Indian descent and of New Zealand nationality.’ Karishma migrated to New Zealand after a government coup in 2000, into a different culture, lifestyle, and whole new set of reference points of what was ‘normal.’
From radio stations, to street signs, everything was different, including the body shape of the girls Karishma went to school with. This experience helped to inform the development of Karishma’s womenswear label Khòlò, and she explains ‘I feel like my past is a HUGE part of Khòlò’s inclusivity.’
Karishma also reflected on her own migrant experiencing when thinking about how she could help alleviate some of the stresses experienced by people seeking asylum in Australia. She highlights, ‘truthfully, I feel like migrating with some financial support means I know nothing of what their world looks like.’
With what she describes as a ‘volition to help’ and inspired the by energy of other community minded activities and refugee advocates, Karishma has connected her desire to improve the lives of refugees with her design and business skills. She explains ‘I guess this is my way of saying ‘hey, I wanted to help, I hope this brings some light to your day.’
Karishma sought out Australian artists Laura Blythman; Lily Zielinski and Lucy Hearn (from Peaches + Keen) and Megan Weston to bring her idea to life. The artists designed an artwork inspired by the idea of ‘hope and resilience’ that have been embroidered or printed on a tote bag, to align with Refugee Week 16-22 June. The profits from these very cute carry-alls will go to the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, an independent not-for-profit whose programs have supported and empowered people seeking in asylum by providing food, housing, healthcare are legal support since 2001.
Driven by a desire to ‘make something happen’, these totes are as visually beautiful as they are hopeful. The bags are now available to purchase online at Khòlò!