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During a time when handmade textiles and craft has become all the rage in the fashion and design scenes, a new brand founded by longtime Bahraini resident Kanika Subberwal titled Tarakeeb presents not only stunning handmade designs but the result of traditional techniques handmade by artisans in Bahrain and in India.

“Our roots rests on a solid foundation one that seeks to create a lineage that is handed down across generations,” Subberwal said. “This is what clothing means to me: It is about being unique, sustainable and comfortable.”

“While the growth of the brand in the future is key, its legacy and future success lies in its enduring quality,” she added.

The name Tarakeeb itself stems from the Arabic word referencing the art of putting things together, creation, innovation and new beginnings. It is exactly this and more. Tarakeeb, as Subberwal emphasizes, is grounded in the past, in upholding traditional craftsmanship from Arabia and South Asia and encouraging more young designers to be inspired to do the same.

Tarakeeb was established in 2020 and launched in October 2022 at The Ritz Carlton Bahrain. Since then, Tarakeeb has showcased its collections in Bahrain and in the United Kingdom. Last year, it presented its collections at a store called Platform in London located at Christopher’s Place. It also showcased its collections through designer Amy Joyce at Notting Hill also in London. Most recently, the brand presented its first catwalk in London in St. John’s Wood showcasing its latest collection titled The Ramo Edit.

The garments are now available at The Urbanist, a concept store located in Dubai’s Jumeirah neighborhood, include long robes, blazers, kaftan vests and dresses with intricate embroidery and detailed embellishment in a range of vibrant colors. Each piece features Tarakeeb’s signature handwoven fabric created in Banijamra village in Bahrain. Classic pure silks and georgette created ensembles as well as embellished and handwoven metal wires known as ‘Naqda’ that are set on pure velvet and silk, while the label’s Boho style features bright handwoven cotton comfort smart casuals.

“The embellishment and embroidery that we do on our garments is done across India depending on the technique and where it originates from,” she adds.

Subberwal explains the process through Tarakeeb’s Made in Bahrain collection.

“The collection is crafted from scratch to completion in Bahrain,” she explains. “We import the pure cotton yarn from Turkey, Brazil and India—the variance is because of the grades of tan used which are specific to each region. This is then formatted into a curated color palette and handed over to the artisan.”

The brand’s first weaver in Bahrain is Abu Essam who has derived what is known today as the “Tarakeeb weave.”

Today, all our weaves follow the format, with the yarn blended with multiple colors that leave discretion to the artisan—an aspect Subberwal believes is important for the brand’s authenticity which, she says, is “unguided.”

“Tarakeeb’s particular craftsmanship gives us pure bespoke texture and colored fabric which is then tailored to create our entire collection,” she adds.

While growing the label is key so too is what Subberwal says the need to foster cross-cultural dialogue through craft. Subberwal is herself a longtime art collector and stalwart support of art and culture in Bahrain, who founded and ran nine editions of contemporary art fair Art Bahrain across Borders (ArtBAB) and the art advisory Art Select, among other enterprises.

“At Tarakeeb our endeavor is to encourage more and more young aspiring designers in the region to look in the direction of fostering their artisanal skill so that it can be communicated across borders,” she adds, stating how in this way, through craftsmanship and fashion, the brand can also foster cross cultural dialogue and exchange.

“Our authentic craft is a reflection of our inherited culture,” she states. “By incorporating pure breathable fabrics like cotton, linen and silk. These materials not only befit the climatic landscape of the region but also add dignity and longevity to a garment.”