Meet The Founder Of A Fashion Brand That Gives A Lifeline To Refugees

BY Julia Maile / Jul 11 2018 / 18:19 PM

Roberta Ventura started SEP Jordan along with artists and creators in Jerash Camp

Meet The Founder Of A Fashion Brand That Gives A Lifeline To Refugees
Richard Hall

“We live in a world saturated by high-end brands. The inspiration behind SEP Jordan was to transform this fashion category by introducing a brand that sells unique stories. The stories of refugees, who are the artists creating our accessories, enrich the products and give them meaning. Although Jerash Camp is one of the worst-off refugee camps in Jordan, I was stunned by the enthusiasm and positive outlooks and spirits I found when I first met with the people who live there. The camp residents refuse to be victims, they want to feel alive and be productive. SEP was the first private company set up within the camp; working with the refugees as peers, as opposed to as recipients of aid. We chose to focus on accessories because they add a twist to an outfit or to a home and we love this. Traditional Palestinian patterns are the inspiration behind the embroidered kuffyiehs, while Islamic geometry inspires most of the home and fashion accessories. My own personal style is casual and androgynous with a classic Italian twist and this is reflected in the designs, which are a true blend of Middle Eastern and Italian taste and style. My proudest moment was when Academy Award-winning costume designer Jacqueline Durran chose SEP to embroider the costumes for the Hollywood film Mary Magdalene and told us that she could not have achieved the same result without our input. I’m fortunate enough to be part of the top one per cent wealth-wise, thanks to my 20-year career in finance. I feel with our consumption, we have a duty and an opportunity to do our bit towards a fairer world. A purchase with a direct impact gives shopping a whole new meaning and this is exactly what SEP Jordan was created for.”

From Harper's Bazaar Arabia June 2018 Issue