Words by John Bergin
Visuals by Felton Kizer
Fashion that Finds Beauty in History and the Perfectly Imperfect
Fariha Wajid is in pursuit of perfect imperfections. Wajid is the creator of INKMADE, a sustainable company that produces hand-made and hand-printed scarves and stationery. She started INKMADE in 2015, after creating the woodblock print prototype in a product design class while attending the Illinois Institute of Technology. A self-identified perfectionist, Wajid was concerned about the small flaws and issues with the hand-printed scarf that came out of this project. However, upon presenting it, her classmates, friends, and family all loved it and began to ask her when she would make more and if they were for sale.
“As the maker, we see the faults more,” Wajid admits.
Her work with INKMADE acts as a challenge to her own personality, creating products that emphasize imperfection as a unique, beautiful quality. No two prints are identical and every design has a distinct tale carved into it waiting to be told.
“Once it’s made by hand it just has more of a story, and I don’t think I realized that in the beginning,” says Wajid. At heart, her role with INKMADE is more of a role as a storyteller; she breathes life into her prints with intention, consideration, history, and a dash of human imperfection.
INKMADE has been a journey of discovery for Wajid. She studied architecture in school but always felt a certain distance from those who would be affected by her work. Architecture’s anonymity didn’t suit Wajid: “I wanted something where I could make it with my hands and actually have a relationship with whoever wears it or enjoys it or uses it.”
She recalls one story, where a man was inquiring about her scarves, asking about the inspiration behind each one, before buying one with a design inspired by a building in Iran.
Asking the man why he chose that specific scarf, Wajid learned that he was a teacher of a student from Iran who was very homesick; he wanted to give her something to remind her of home.
These relationships are what continues to inspire Wajid. The human element, the heartfelt transaction, the reasons people share as to why they’re buying a specific scarf - all work in tandem to support her vision. “I think I just want to bring more meaning to the things that we use every day, or the things that we wear every day,” she says.
There is a tone of humility that lives in Wajid’s voice. Having a product that tells a story of its own is unique in itself. Wajid, being the creator of such a product, finds herself on a humbling, imperfect, and ultimately fulfilling journey.