International Women's Day: EVOKE London

We introduce you to female founded, Marylebone Village newcomer, EVOKE London.

EVOKE philosophy 

When Vandana Poddar and Leonora Swanepoel first met, there was an instant bond founded in their shared perspectives on the value of craft and historic traditions. Both came from different contexts – Vandana is a craft and design expert based in India and Leonora is a South African designer living in London – but common values quickly morphed into Evoke London - a dream project that would nurture the growth of artistic, soulful, and historic craft forms from around the world. 

When it comes to working with artisans and craftspeople, they say, “One-side equations are just not an option if we are to be truly hopeful for the future. There is a phrase in Sanskrit that translates to “The world is one family”. This sense of interconnectedness of the world and the multiplicity of stories was the seed for us to set up Evoke London. It continues to be the essence of its spirit, as it connects makers of beauty to those who appreciate it.” 

 EVOKE philosophy and lessons with craft women 

One of the beautiful lessons Vandana and Leonora have learnt on their journey with Evoke is the value of craft in the lives of rural women across the world. Their research and extensive travels have revealed to them, the role that craft plays as a tool of empowerment and glue binding the community. For these reasons, womens crafts” have gained a special place in the Evoke spirit. 

Talking of the value of these crafts in the lives of women artisan-makers, Leonora says – “The sites of these group craft-making are therapeutic and help women cope with the complex and often brutal realities of their lives in societies with unequal gender roles. Perhaps most importantly, the skill of these crafts creates agency through economic empowerment, giving women the option to sustain themselves and educate their children. If crafts appear to be a viable option, the next generation is inspired to take it on and carry forward the tradition.” 

Evoke supports women artisan communities across regions and crafts – basket weaving and pot making in southern Africa, textile weaving in West Africa and North East India, traditional adornment making in East Africa and Nagaland (North East India), and hand embroidery in West Bengal (India). 

Evoke London is set to opens its doors on 12 April at 27a Devonshire Street, Marylebone Village. Learn more about the crafts they platform on Instagram (@evoke_london). 


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