Afghan Artisan Rug Pop-up, May 28–31, 2021

More than 1,000 handmade rugs from 10 leading Afghan producers are for sale during the four-day Afghan Artisan Rug Pop-up shopping event at Metropolitan Pavilion. The Pavilion is located at 123 West 18th Street, New York, NY, 10011. The event runs from May 28 through May 31, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.

The pop-up shop comes to U.S. consumers thanks to the Kabul Carpet Export Company (KCEC), a jobs creation program funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

Rob Leahy, who founded KCEC, explained to Rug News that the KCEC “stimulates employment for [Afghan] women and returning [Afghan] refugees.” The initiative “aims to empower the women who weave these carpets in Afghanistan to own their businesses and take the reins.”

Leahy explained that most of the rugs:

are woven by women in their homes and rug-making is one of the few ways women have of earning household income [in Afghanistan]. They use knotting techniques that vary from one ethnic group to another, but have been handed down from mothers to daughters across generations.

The KCEC also works with Label STEP, which is self-described as “the fair trade non-profit organization committed to the wellbeing of weavers and workers in the handmade carpet industry.”

The 2021 Afghan Artisan Rug Pop-up marks the KCEC’s second sale at Metropolitan Pavilion.

Also at the sale, Zarif Design, led by Zolaykha Sherzad, offers men’s and women’s clothing of hand-woven silk fabrics, and Veezha, who offers handcrafted Afghan jewelry. Ziba Foods will also be there providing sample packs of Central and South Asian dried fruits and nuts.