Ayesha Mustafa is leading the change to empower disadvantaged women around the world and help them to rise out of poverty. She has created a model that communities can use to create sustainable businesses which benefit from ethical and fair trade leading to improved living conditions and increased human rights.

“We can’t wait to plan for a future; we need to make a sustainable one now.”

“Ayesha Mustafa is one of the most talented young women I have encountered. She has passion & energy which is channelled so well to making a difference to the lives of others. Her effortless ability to helping other women & support them on their journey is remarkable. She empowers, believes & listens. She is simply a star!”
Pinky Lilani CBE DL

Story

Fashion and culture are inseparable. Ayesha grew up in various cities- Karachi, Cairo, New York, Dubai, and saw this phenomenon first hand.

Despite that, Ayesha’s love for fashion grew more through a family tradition of heirlooms. Her family firmly believed in treasuring craft and preserving the old and mixing it with the new, which are themes that her company fosters today. Ayesha’s father has particularly been instrumental in her love for repurposed fashion. He would never fail to bring back unique pieces from his travels each accompanied by its own story.

Ayesha’s true call to ethical fashion came at age 16 in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Ayesha was a summer intern at the Grameen Foundation, a bank that strives to create economic and social development through issuing micro credit. This not only pulls people out of poverty but also enables them to reach their full potential by giving them access to finance, funding and training. Ayesha witnessed the lives of women in particular change through these opportunities, and watched the benefits spill over to their community as well.

Artisan from the Catrinka Project

Artisan from the Catrinka Project

Artisan from Shrujan the creator of Threads of Gujarat

Artisan from Shrujan the creator of Threads of Gujarat

The project that touched Ayesha the most was, The Grameen Check aimed at reviving the perishing handloom industry in Bangladesh that was suffering with the growth of mass production mills. Ayesha worked with teams that developed business plans and market strategies and the development of new fabric patterns that could be marketed globally. Previously disheartened weavers became more optimistic and confident which made them more entrepreneurial and take charge of their own lives. Ayesha witnessed the transformation of the poorest women, who couldn’t even hold a pen to now lead meetings, delegate and run their businesses. This experience was monumental in Ayesha’s life and she promised herself that one day, she would be running a business that would create an impact, give women a voice and make them independent.

Many years later, in 2010 Ayesha returned to what she had learnt in Bangladesh and set up her company Fashion ComPassion that launched in 2011. Ayesha now partners with numerous socially responsible brands from all over the world, and works closely with their founders to create new and exciting products and regularly speaks on panels and discussions on sustainable fashion.