SEP Jordan | Eco-Sustainable collective
Founded in 2013 by Italian Roberta Ventura, a former banker turned Social Entrepreneur and is run out of Geneva, Amman and the Jerash Refugee Camp. It’s a luxury lifestyle brand: a fusion of Italian style with the best Middle Eastern Craftsmanship.
Today 560 embroidery artists work with SEP in Jordan. They create timeless hand-embroidered home accessories: a cushion takes up to 4 weeks to embroider; a cashmere throw takes over 5 weeks. It takes time to create a perfect work of art, but when it is ready, it lasts a lifetime. This is a key element when ordering bespoke creations from SEP: they love working with designers to embroider all the textiles in the home.
Each artist works for a maximum of 4 hours a day, to ensure the utmost precision and accuracy. “Having met the women behind these beautiful creations, I saw that true heroes are real. Their superpowers are: perseverance and making sure the world takes notice, one stitch at a time” – Mira Duma We live in a world saturated by high-end fashion.
The inspiration behind SEP Jordan was to transform this fashion category by introducing a brand that sells unique stories – the stories of refugees, who are the artists creating the accessories, enrich the products they sell and give them meaning. SEP artists are unique: they are artisans whose skills can be traced back generations. “We work to ensure that the SEP artists are proud to be part of the SEP community. They are respected as individuals and each of them can express their personality in the creative process.” – Roberta Ventura
SEP artisans’ benefit from the production and earn above-market rates. The best producers earn performance-related bonuses at the end of the year. They take pride in ensuring that the workers benefit from their craft both emotionally and financially. To ensure these bonuses are funded, the company always strives to make a profit. Part of this is a rigorous attention to detail: we aim for a superior level of quality and efficiency at all times, deadlines are respected, and waste avoided.
All of our embroidery is undertaken by hand. Even assembling is mostly hand-made, using minimal machinery. SEP promotes recycling and respects the environment in the workplace. SEP asks their fabrics suppliers to avoid use chemical colouring and are always on the lookout for new materials based on recycled materials.
SEP was the first Jordanian private company set up within the camp working with the refugees as peers, as opposed to as recipients of aid.SEP is cross-culturally aware and respects all traditions and cultures. The founder and most of the management team and consultants are Italian; the artisans are refugees from the Middle East. They all love and strive for elegant design: no matter their location or circumstance.
Traditional Palestinian patterns are the inspiration behind the embroidered kuffyiehs, while Islamic geometry inspires most of the home and fashion accessories. Their proudest moment was when Academy Award-winning costume designer Jacqueline Durran chose SEP to embroider the costumes for the Hollywood film Mary Magdalene and told them that she could not have achieved the same result without the input of all the women in the camps who made it happen.