With a passion for discovering beautifully unique and carefully made things, Far & Wide offers creations one can only stumble upon in the tucked-away workshops and rural village markets on exotic travels. By solely working with fair trade artisans they are also helping to build a more sustainable infrastructure for the artisanal communities they work with. The remarkable woman behind the brand, Hedvig Alexander, has so much insight and dedication when it comes to the industry, brand and the social change it is built on. It truly shines through in her every word.
What inspired you to create your own brand/company? Where did your story start?
My story started in Afghanistan where I worked for seven years, first as a Danish Army Officer, then with the UN and finally running Turquoise Mountain, a Prince of Wales Charity reviving Afghan arts, craft and architecture. I saw firsthand the incredible skills so many Afghans have, yet even the most skilled crafts women and men lack access to markets hindering their ability to build and grow businesses to make a better life for themselves and their families. Far & Wide Collective exists to help artisans build their business while giving fashionable women in access to well-designed and high quality home decor and accessories with an impact.
As your brand continues to grow, what creative endeavors do see on your horizon?
We have done a number of collaborations with designers and would like to do more. Matching ethically produced products with great design to ensure the products have consumer relevance is crucial.
Who is your muse? Describe the Far & Wide woman.
My muse is Sheikha Mozah – the wife of the former Emir to Qatar. To me she is one of the best-dressed and most beautiful women in the world – the Jackie O of the Middle East. She combines the exotic and chic with classic Western-cut perfectly. The Far + Wide woman is chic, not a slave to trends but has the confidence to mix new and old – vintage and current design both in her wardrobe and home. She is curious and understands what is going on in the world and is engaged.
What are your favorite places to eat, drink, and shop when visiting your artisans?
Afghanistan is not yet a tourist destination – security is not good enough and it is too risky. But when I lived there the most magical moments would be at dinners in private rose gardens late at night, a walk on the old city wall with a view of all of Kabul, a visit to Emperor Babur’s garden and mausoleum, or a trip to Central Afghanistan to visit the remains of the giant Buddhas. Other dreamy places in the region, off the beaten path, are Cookoo’s cafe in Lahore Pakistan at dusk – overlooking the old city, the Sikh Temple, the Fort and Badshahi Moque, a vist to the Shigar Fort the Northern areas of Pakistan or Karavan restaurant and shop in Tashkent, Uzbekistan for wonderful food, exquisite suzanis and ikat fabric.
When in Kenya we always first visit the 800 women we work with at Mount Kasigau. Others may go to the Masai Mara for the most incredible safaris. When back in Nairobi the Circle Art Gallery is a must see for the best East African art, as well as an evening at Alchemist Restaurant or dinner at the Muthaiga club (if you are a member) for a bit of colonial time romance.
In a perfect world, where do you see the hand-made, “slow-fashion” industry in the next five years?
Growing! If we have the opportunity to tell consumers exactly how much of an impact they can make by being conscious of how and where things are made the industry will grow – and fast! Consumers have the opportunity to buy a product that they like and at the same time build a local business that significantly improve lives!
Hedvig's passion is undeniable, see for yourself!