A fashionable peace treaty

In 2009, Noa, a Jewish-Israeli, and Mira Awad, an Arab-Israeli, charmed the world in the Eurovision Song Contest, performing “There Must Be Another Way,” a song that emphasizes hope and understanding for finding peace and coexistence. Recently, I met two female entrepreneurs who charmed me, and transform this vision into a reality. Farah Malik, CEO and Production Head, a Pakistani Muslim, and Dana Arbib, Creative Director and Designer, a Libyan Jew born in Israel, are the founders of A PEACE TREATY, a luxury brand which started with an investment of $4,000 each of their own money, not taking additional funding and building their business up. In their first week, the two sold 500 scarves. A business that started in their apartment is now with CFDA fashion incubator partnership. Today, A PEACE TREATY’s collections are carried by over 80 retailers worldwide.
Farah and Dana, both Canadian, met through friends at a wedding in Rome, and became friends. Several months after, over lunch while talking fashion and career goals, Farah and Dana had a rare ‘aha’ moment of bringing handwoven artisanal elevated luxury to New York City. They realized there was a gap in the market, but the demand existed. Given their cultural background and family heritage, they started with scarves. It didn’t take long for Farah and Dana to build up A PEACE TREATY into a real business, and show the world how each collection takes you on a personal journey.
Reflecting a more beautiful way of making things, A PEACE TREATY pioneered a social business model that helps save small, family-run village crafts businesses that have become obsolete or are struggling to compete with factory based manufacturing in regions of political, social and economic turmoil. In discussing peace, Dana said it is about learning to work together and not being so passionate where peace takes over your life. Farah feels it’s a unifying message that brings you to the point of uplifting beauty. Says Dana: “There is so much negative imagery relating to Peace. Why not be hopeful. People pick up a scarf and say, I can’t believe it was made there. People caught in conflict in these countries should not have to suffer. Everyone should get a chance.”
Artisans set the roadmap, but there is a lot of A PEACE TREATY research that goes into working with them, including taxes, infrastructure, politics, and else. While New York works on time, A PEACE TREATY works patiently, understanding slow and handmade production, taking into consideration the humane way of doing business with artisans in villages in regions that struggle. Each season, A PEACE TREATY works with artisans from a certain region to create collections that redefine and modernize ancient handmade textile and metalsmithing techniques. Farah and Dana each have three passports, speak multiple languages, and bring diverse backgrounds to the company, which makes their business work. They work with master craftspeople in nine countries - Pakistan, India, Nepal, Turkey, Afghanistan, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador and The United States, creating employment opportunities for small family artisans helping them elevate their products to the level of high design.
Recently, Farah and Dana returned from an inspirational trip to Bogota, Columbia, as part of the CFDA fashion incubator partnership. In light of Bogota’s rich history of gold work and textiles, A PEACE TREATY intends on exploring the country’s hidden treasures, influencing their upcoming work. In the future, Dana talks about how she would love to do a project in Israel.
A PEACE TREATY collaborates with high-profile brands and designers from Rugby Ralph Lauren to Jonathan Simkhai. The luxury brand has been worn by celebrities such as Jemima Kirke, Jennifer Lopez, Gwen Stefani, Nicole Richie and Mary Kate Olsen, attracting attention from media outlets including The New York Times, Forbes, Vogue, and Elle. In addition, the founders have received recognition in the fields of both philanthropy and design, as well as invitations from the White House, the World Bank, and educational institutions like Parson’s School of Design and Princeton.
A PEACE TREATY scarves and jewelry can be found worldwide at such retailers as Le Bon Marché in Paris, Fenwick in London, Harvey Nichols in the UAE and Saks Fifth Avenue in the US, as well as online at www.apeacetreaty.com.