Our dear Klara Khani belongs to the "Cokanoso" clan (Gabor with Hammer), the tradesmen class of traditional Roma
society, or what is more closely associated in western social standards as “middle
Klara, dubbed the “rebel
in a gypsy dress for her emancipated views and a strong will-power within the patriarchal
Roma society where women endure a doubly discriminated life firstly by the
majority for their ethnicity and secondly, within the Roma society, for their
Klara, a rebel by nature,
caged within the restrictive laws of the male dominated Roma society, finds her
own sense of independence through a strong intellect that speaks four languages
fluently, including computer – and takes care of business with an
Our project began the formidable
search for a Roma seamstress back in 2012 – and that’s when Klara surprised us
by coming out saying she wanted to make the clothing.
“Do you know how?”
“No – not yet.” was her reply “ but I will learn” –
and learn she did. She bought a machine with money saved in her small business selling
perfumes – and then calculatingly went about “stealing the trade” (a popular term
of the Gypsies referring to the practice of learning by watching those who know
and then doing yourself.) She learned alright, she learned beautifully, but
more than that, she has increased her performance over the years from a duplicator
of Gabor fashion to innovator creating her own Gabor styles set within the guidelines
of Gabor functional and metaphysical requirements.
Klara is a traditionalist and uses the Gabor style observed amongst the trendsetting "Kalaposho" (Roma royalty). As a designer she has begun to blend the styles
of Kalaposho with her own creative genius creating something new and uniquely
“Klara Khani” original…
We hope to increase
Klara Khani’s demand and help fuel her drive towards reaching her unlimited
The Aprons and dress are
made by Roma - for Roma.
Zsuzu is a model subject of what the Tzigania Project is all
about... Our goals at Tzigania are to empower and liberate Roma out of poverty
and other forms of social injustices through their own skills and abilities.
Zsuzu belongs to that large body of inherently disadvantaged Roma born into
poverty, caught within the vicious cycle out along the fringes of both Romanian
and Gabor society with no escape. Illiteracy and her single mom social status
have only contributed to further marginalize her poor standings.
It has been a tough life for Zsuzu from the very start; born into
a family that couldn’t afford her, she was sent off to the orphanage. Her
childhood was spent without a sense of belonging as she was being shuffling
back and forth between the unwelcoming orphanage and home where her outside upbringing
distanced her family relationship and she often became the scapegoat to their
Zsuzu lives today in a tiny, closet-sized room, no electricity, in
the back of the home of her parents, now managed by her older brother, Marco, a
blacksmith and jewelry maker that we also plan to soon bring him and his craft into
the project. From within this compact area Zsuzu works her
trade finding a way to survive one day at a time.
Zsuzu is a favorite amongst the Tzigania family because in
spite of all her many physical and mental hardships she manages to keep to the
Gabor code of ethics as being honest, clean, neat and hard working. She is an
artist with the sewing machine yet limited by her location, poverty, illiteracy
and social standings preventing her from ever reaching her potential beyond that
of mending villager’s torn trousers.
The Aprons and dress
made by Zsuzu are made by Roma - for Roma.
We are hopeful that an
increase in our sales will result into more steady work for her. Meanwhile, we
are committed to help boost her opportunities; in 2014 we purchased a new
sewing machine and other tools to help her “get a leg up” and improve her