Home > Front Page > Scrap Exchange Celebrates Women’s Empowerment by featuring Local Artist’s Purse Designs

The Scrap Exchange celebrates Women’s History Month by featuring Zanobia Sewing’s one-of-a-kind handbag creations. The totes feature empowering designs using locally sourced cloth from Spoonflower, a celebration of beauty and power evident in every design. The handbags can be found at the Artists’ Marketplace in the Scrap Exchange’s main building at 2050 Chapel Hill Road. Each bag, whether you select a purse, makeup bag, laptop bag, or clutch, is an upcycled, one of a kind creation using materials found at the Scrap’s Reuse Arts Shop or Scrap Thrift store. These eco-friendly creations celebrate reuse and creativity, two important aspects of The Scrap Exchange’s mission.

An Embodiment of the Mission

“Featuring Zanobia handbags is another way we live our mission and purpose each day,” says Laura Nicholson, Executive Director at The Scrap Exchange. “Each piece is an expression of artistry and beauty created from reused materials and highlight underrepresented fabrics not found anywhere else. We are proud to offer a beautiful product to our Durham community that also helps the Earth! It’s inspiring to feature Zanobia designs in our Marketplace along with many other talented, local and creative reuse Artist Partners.”

…formerly an OB/GYN in her home country. She began sewing when she was eight years old, which sparked a passion that she beautifully channels into every piece she creates.

Farheen Khan, the owner and operator of Zanobia Sewing and Alternations, a local alteration shop near downtown Durham, is the talented artisan behind Zanobia’s designs. Khan, who hails from Pakistan over three decades ago, was formerly an OB/GYN in her home country. She began sewing when she was eight years old, which sparked a passion that she beautifully channels into every unique piece she creates. She became an Artist Partner at The Scrap Exchange last February when the Artist Marketplace opened, allowing her to showcase her expert work and expressing her creativity.

“People ask if I miss being a doctor. I say that was my passion then and this is my passion now,” says Khan. “I love to express my creativity and heart in what I do. There is nothing that brings me more peace than that.”

A few of Zanobia’s one-of-a-kind creations can also be found in the Scrap Exchange’s online store. “They seem to sell faster than we can upload them to the web,” said a member of the Scrap Exchange’s staff.

You’ve Seen Zanobia Before

You may already have one of Khan’s designs; her face coverings were distributed all over the Triangle since the pandemic. This month, Farheen completed her 17,000th fabric mask for the Scrap Exchange, a new staple sold here since the pandemic onset. Last year, Farheen was the chief sewist during their 10,000 mask order in partnership with Duke and the citywide Mask Initiative. The Scrap Exchange was part of a collaborative effort to provide face coverings to more than 6,000 of Durham’s most vulnerable citizens at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic..

Learn More

Zanobia Sewing is located at 2716 Hillsborough Street in Durham, NC. Khan is proud that her alterations shop is housed in the same establishment as her husband’s organic dry-cleaning business, Z-Koretizing Cleaners. She and her husband, Hussain, have been serving the Durham community for over 30 years.

You can meet our other Artist Partners at The Scrap Exchange here. Interested in becoming an Artist Partner? Learn more and apply here.