Companion (10)

Companion’s simple series of hats emerge from a thoughtful design practice, encouraging acts of care for the self, the environment & the other.

Companion celebrates diversity in an international context of ongoing politicised debate regarding refugee quotas & the economic impact of migrants.

Meaningful employment is a crucial component for integration & contribution. Likewise, creating is a catalyst for connection – a required antidote in the face of increasingly divisive propaganda. So, skills carried on migration dictate this collaborative practice. 

Contemporary design outcomes are explored via collisions of traditions; resulting cohesive forms bringing attention to the beauty in heterogeneous societies. Much made is 100% unique – with marks of artisan’s hands & minds.

Slow Design principles are adhered to, considering environmental & social sustainability.

Marriage was this business' beginning. A friend in common provided an introduction, a chance to share mutual experiences around engagement with refugees. We had both used masters research projects to explore social enterprise models too (him in Development Studies, her Art & Design). So somewhat inevitably a social business working with refugees emerged from our relationship – Companion. 

Although constantly open to new collaborative possibilities locally & internationally, we make the majority of our pieces alongside a small number of migrants here in Aotearoa who we have now known for years, & have become dear friends including:

Pary who is from Afghanistan originally & now lives in Tāmaki Makaurau with her daughter's young family. Her contributions of beaded & embroidered elements offer surprise due to language barriers and the resulting “losses” & “gains” in translation. Pary often refers to the peace she finds in working with her hands, “When I sew I forget my problems in Afghanistan”.

First meeting Thawil when teaching a migrant sewing group, she has since transitioned from student to running these classes herself, & alongside teaching, she works as our machinist. From Thailand, Thawil married a Syrian & lives here with their daughter. 

We also periodically collaborate with an Afghan Sewing Group & one of the members' sons, Aliakbar, a high school student who plans to become a doctor. In the interim, he contributes to Companion in various capacities.


These goods can be composted at the end of their useful life, leaving no trace of their existence.

Ethically Made

These goods are made by suppliers that pay fair wages, guarantee no child labour, and maintain a safe working environment.


Handcrafted goods are one of a kind that have been created by skilled artisans often using techniques passed down through generations, rather than by automated, machine-based processes. Small irregularities are celebrated and are what make handcrafted goods unique.


These goods are manufactured in the same country in which they are designed. This sustains the local economy and is more equitable for the workers and their communities. 


These goods have been crafted with materials that are derived from naturally occurring materials, plants or animals, with minimal processing. 


Goods that are made from organically grown materials and are free from harmful chemicals and pesticides. 


In an effort to reduce waste, the design of these goods are either part or wholly made from up-cycled or previously used materials. These can be either salvaged directly in their current form or from recycled materials, such as paper, glass or metal.


Goods made from materials that can be replenished at the rate they are consumed, all with minimal environmental and social impact. Such as FSC wood, bamboo and wool. 


These goods are produced by artisans or companies that are open, honest, and straightforward about their business operations. Transparency builds trust, from makers through to customers.


These are goods that contain absolutely no animal products or by-products and were not tested on animals at any stage.