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New clothing brand offers opportunity and hope for refugee and immigrant women

Adi Collective is the brain child of two workers with World Relief Seattle, an organization that helps refugees in Western Washington. #k5evening

SEATTLE — Adi Collective is a home and clothing brand, known for minimalism and sustainability. But its mission is also connected to female empowerment.

Its co-founder, Liz Hadley, says Adi is Persian for ordinary. "The products are very simple. Very ordinary. But we're also trying to introduce people to our newest neighbors. Just ordinary people, who are actually extraordinary. Someone who came here as an immigrant or refugee." 

Mursal Alemi is one of five women currently sewing and making products for Adi Collective.  She moved to the United States less than 3 years ago from Afghanistan.  "In Afghanistan, not too good situation for the woman. Women can't work outside and can't go to school. But in the United States, women can go to college and work and this situation in the United States is good," explained Alemi.   

The idea for Adi Collective came about after Hadley noticed trends in her work with World Relief Seattle. There were a lot of Afghans moving to us.  It was easy to help the men find work. They had an experience, English skills. They could navigate public transit;l but women who were job searching, it was challenging to help them find employment. 

Many grew up under the Taliban not being able to access education, so lower levels of English," according to Hadley. 

So World Relief Seattle created a sewing class as part of its Resiliency Program. Mursal was one of the first graduates. 

"We have a flexible production model. They can work from home, provide support for their children. They can take English classes when it works for them," explained Hadley.    

Recently the women from Adi finished an order of more than 3,000 masks for essential business.  And Mursal made more than a thousand by herself.  

Some graduates of the sewing class have gone on to full-time jobs and at least one started her own business. 

It's a win-win situation for consumers looking for a fresh look; and for refugees building on their fresh start. 

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