With Christmas approaching fast and around two weeks away, the team at AWF thought now would be the perfect time to bring together a collection of South Asian run small businesses, perfect for gift giving! We have come across so many incredible creatives, businesses and brands, a list that would be endless but these are just a few we love and wanted to bring your attention to. These businesses and brands that not only deserve your support and love, but brands that produce an abundance of unique and beautiful gifts, perfect to give to your loved one, that’s for sure!
Read more about these South Asian brands below!
The joys, celebration and beauty of Christmas also brings along the coldness of winter, the perfect thing to sooth this feeling is Tea India. This brand works with the best tea estates globally to source the most premium teas; majority of which are from Assam, India, a region which is well-known for their bright, full-bodied black teas. Tea India products are full of strong, authentic taste of tea, whilst being created from 100% natural ingredients and no artificial flavours.
Roshini, an illustrator for Brown Girl Magazine, creates stunning illustrative pieces reflecting on so many different aspects of South Asian culture, to combat racial stereotypes and representation in a bold and beautiful illustrative technique. Roshini sells a wide range of products, from key rings and prints to cards and stickers!
Paintbrush&Co is a fine art brand and organisation dedicated to creating and curating creative and educational spaces for women and the youth. They explore creativity through workshops, exhibitions and projects. This platform was founded by two multi-disciplinary female artists, Zafeerah Heesambee and Reem Hammoud, to give everyday women an opportunity to share their stories through the fine art and providing accessibility to creative processes.
Striking. Unique. Light weight. ShaumyArtBags are crafted and designed with strong designs, whilst complementing every outfit for any occasion. ShaumyArtBag is inspired by everyday life and was created to bring those unique moments to life through art. Every bag is handmade with love and close attention to detail, whilst continuing to build confidence and set trends. Shaumy’s also gives people the possibility to even create their own motif, to have the freedom to have your very own style always at your side.
House of Bilimoria is a female founded business by Shilpa Bilimoria, who is based in London, with her mother, born in Kenya, East Africa, and father in Mumbai. Her journey of textiles and sustainability is also strongly inspired by her family and her heritage. Her bespoke, upcycled and handcrafted products reflect a journey that embodies the hybrid of her cultural identity. The House of Bilimoria strives to bring this into the brand with empathy for people from all walks of life, with their own stories and experiences.
The Playful Indian brand is a bold, quirky and vibrant brand that provides products that are all about putting smiles on peoples’ faces and spreading happiness; something that is strongly needed during these COVID times. The brand founder, Dina, wants to share her love of (mostly) food through her cheesy food pun cards and gifts. Or you could get something to motivate those around you with positive quotes in the form of art prints. She brings together both eastern and western cultures and creates modern cards for South Asian festivals such as Diwali and Raksha Bandhan, which keeps these traditions alive.
ZHK Designs is created by Zoe Harveen Kaur, who also happens to be our wonderful illustrator at AWF. Zoe is born and raised in Calgary, Alberta, Canada and grew up in a Punjabi-Sikh family. For Zoe, her culture, heritage and childhood are extremely important to her and it is something she wanted to highlight as much as she could through her wonderful illustrations. Zoe sells a range of things from t-shirts to phone cases and prints to cushions, all of which will make perfect gifts!
Taymoon Art is by Tayhe Munsamy who works within the realms of speculative thinking, mythology and folklore. Her practice is inspired by her identity as a mixed-race woman and explores elements from the Indian communities in South Africa. Through storytelling she combines cultural specificity with fictional features in written and visual forms – digital paintings, video, and text – to showcase themes of construction, displacement, transformation, and fantasy in relation to notions of the self. You can buy her beautiful prints or colouring pages from her site.
Shai collective, founded by Sanaa Himani, was created based on Sanaa’s personal identity experiences. She struggled to reconcile her Indian heritage with her American upbringing, especially with the lack of Indian and Indian-American representation in mainstream American culture. Sanaa wanted to showcase the luxury of India's handicraft heritage in a contemporary context. Through an assortment of Indian artisan-influenced home goods and accessories with three key elements: beauty, quality, and creativity.
TKC Design Inc was founded by Taranjit (Taran) Cheema, a Canadian-born designer who has a strong eye for colours and graphics. She creates bold, unique and inspirational clothing, through exploring mixed media. Whilst being inspired by fashion, she also enjoys exploring other passions such as photography and fine arts. TKC Design Inc is a vibrant reflection of colour with the hopes to inspire a movement of endless possibilities; through original and authentic pieces that will catch everyone’s eyes. TKC Design Inc offers one of a kind pieces that we guarantee you will not find anywhere else; enriched in daring and eye-catching colours made to empower women.
Basic as Butter Chicken was found by three South Asian women - Prianka is Sri Lankan, Praneethi is South Indian, and Faria is Bangladeshi. They decided to create a brand that highlights the unique desi differences whilst celebrating the similarities within South Asian culture. Basic as Butter Chicken provides something for everyone who is part of or appreciates South Asian cultures; through their cute, uplifting and quirky stickers and magnets!
We’ve saved the best until last which is a stunning jewellery brand by Anisha Parmar. Anisha’s jewellery pieces are individually handcrafted with love and good vibes in her UK based studio and are strongly Indian inspired jewellery, something that is a perfect addition for bold, confident and badass women. Her work is influenced by her hybrid heritage (India, East Africa and UK); as well growing up in London, her style is inspired by her own family’s history and the diverse cultures found in multicultural Britain.