About Handwork Studio

The Handwork Studio team consists of experienced Canadian designers Munira Amin and Rachel MacHenry. With ongoing connections in Pakistan, India, Nepal, Haiti and now Peru, the studio provides design services for artisan-based production. Through a network of specialized craft and technical associates, the studio offers design consultation to a variety of artisan focused enterprises including government trade facilitation offices, import and design companies, artisan organizations and international development institutions. Handwork Studio is committed to design innovation through socially and environmentally sustainable methods.

Handwork Studio Team

Rachel MacHenry: Design + Artisan Development

With over twenty years of international experience in product development within the artisan sector for both public and private sector clients, Rachel brings exceptional depth and knowledge to the field. Most recently, she has led the product development team for BrandTrade’s PCTBI project in Peru, developing a design platform to showcase four emergent brands through extensive artisan-made collections. She has also developed collections with artisans in Haiti, Nepal, Indian, Pakistan, Bangladesh and elsewhere, and is currently involved with a natural dye research project in India, creating a line of naturally dyed materials for designers.

Rachel collaborates with artisan communities, working to sustain traditional skills and researching bio-regional materials such as plant dyes and local fibres. Her work has been available through Holt, Renfrew & Co., Selvedge UK, Takashimaya, Barney’s Japan, Anthropologie and other prestigious retailers, and is in the permanent design collection of the Victoria & Albert Museum, London UK. Rachel MacHenry is a graduate of Central St. Martin’s, University of the Arts, London, UK. A former Studio Head in Textiles at Sheridan College, she now teaches at OCAD University, Toronto.

Munira Amin: Design + Artisan Development

Munira Amin has more than two decades of experience in artisan product development. She is a specialist in artisan training and artisanal production methodologies. She has worked on numerous Social Design projects and developed product ranges both for regional and global markets.

More recently, in 2015/16 she worked on the PCTBI trade-based program with BRANDTRADE in Peru, conceptualizing, designing and developing an extensive product line for global markets in partnership with artisan communities in four regions of Peru. She has also initiated The SEWAN Project (Indigo), in Pakistan. The SEWAN project is a platform that brings together artisan production with contemporary design to create new product lines for global markets. This income-generating project focuses on sustaining artisans while supporting skills and traditional production methods in Pakistan.

Munira Amin is a graduate in product design from the National College of Arts, Pakistan, a former faculty member at the Pakistan Design Institute and a founding member of Design Collective, Karachi. She is now based in Toronto.

Faisal Haq Shaheen: Social Enterprise, SME Business Advisor

Faisal Haq Shaheen is a specialist in informal sector business development, sustainable development and strategic planning for SME’s, social enterprises and co-operatives in developing economies. As a Research Associate at the Sustainable Development Policy Institute, Faisal Haq Shaheen has developed policy recommendations based on research into global multi-lateral and market-based models and analyzed their impact on political economies and sustainable development within South Asia.

Faisal Haq Shaheen holds a BSc from the University of Toronto, an MBA from the Schulich School of Business, York University, Haub Program for Business and Environment, Strategic Policy and International Trade, a Masters in Public Policy and Administration from Ryerson University and a PhD in Policy Studies, Department of Politics and Public Administration, Ryerson University.

Cherie Peters: Market Readiness and Sales Advisor

With over fifteen years in the international fashion and retail industry, Cherie Peters’ background offers a rich and diverse skill set ranging from developing unique retail experiences and growing wholesale accounts to working on the retail side in both the luxury and mid-range markets. With expertise in retail buying, sales negotiating and readiness, market linkages, and trade show management, she brings a cohesive understanding of the North American retail and trade landscape. Cherie Peters is a graduate of Fashion Marketing and Merchandising, Fashion Design at the International Academy of Design and Technology.