newsKhujand, August 2015. From July to August 2015 the National Association of Business Women of Tajikistan (NABWT) carried out the contest ‘Best Suzani Designer’. The objective of the contest was the identification of new Suzani designers and the development of new Suzani designs which meet the demands of international markets.

The contest consisted of two stages. In the first stage 25 potential designers from Penjikent, Ganchi, Istaravshan, Spitamen and Khujand submitted application forms and provided design sketches of Suzani in the categories ‘ancient’ and ‘modern’ design. An expert commission reviewed the applications and designs and selected the 12 best designers as finalists. During the second stage of the contest the finalists were invited to attend a workshop on design development provided by Anja Boeffel, a fashion designer from Germany. The training workshop aimed to assess the capacities of the designers, further develop the Suzani designs as well as the design development skill of the participants. Ms. Boeffel showed the participants how to improve their Suzani designs and support the development of new handicraft products.

On 30th of August the semifinalists and the winner of the contest were awarded with diplomas. Nargis Naimova, a designer from Spitamen district, was selected as the winner of the contest and will participate in a study tour to Kazakhstan. Further, Nargis Naimova will have the opportunity to cooperate with LLC “Ozara” and NABWT on the development of new Suzani designs.

The contest is part of the project “Tajik Women Economic Empowerment (TWEET)”, funded by the European Union under the Central Asia Invest Programme. The project aims at improving the business climate for the establishment and operation of MSME (micro, small and medium enterprises) run by women in Tajikistan.