Noorjehan Bilgrami, a pioneer in the preservation of the craft traditions in Pakistan, established KOEL in 1977, primarily to revive the hand-block printing craft which by then had almost ceased to exist. Introducing this age-old craft to home furnishing and women’s apparel, she popularized it to such an extent that within ten years, scores of block-printing karkhanas (workshops) were set up by entrepreneurs in Karachi alone, providing jobs to hundreds of craftsmen.
Apart from hand-block printing, KOEL carried out high quality hand-embroidery and other embellishments on fabric, setting high standards to create a unique niche in the up-market fashion apparel sector in Pakistan. Almost all the fabric used at KOEL is exclusively designed silk and cotton, woven on hand-looms by renowned master weavers of Pakistan.
Over the years, numerous exhibitions and fashion shows featuring apparel and hand-woven, naturally dyed fabrics from KOEL have been held in many cities in Pakistan, India, USA, Canada, Japan, Jordan, Kuwait and UAE.