While production in Bali enabled me to create gorgeous woven fabrics, after two years I could not keep up with customer demand and needed to switch to printing fabric instead. Enter, India.
This enabled me to keep up with orders and incorporate new fabrics, such as jersey, cotton lycra with some stretch, and silk. Indians are skilled beyond measure when it comes to embellishments as well, which opened up a whole new world of design fun! I loved meeting all of the people that brought my designs to life and putting faces to their names. Since this was a business trip I did not do any sight seeing, but rather spent 12-16 hours per day either in the markets or at the office making selections on beading or color combinations. I was exhausted, but it was absolutely wonderful to be there and I can't wait to go back.
Welcome to India.
I don't remember how many hours I had been awake at this point, but it was wonderful to be there... and be greeted with the treat of fresh flowers draped around my neck.
We stayed at the Taj and couldn't have been happier. It was a peaceful oasis in the middle of a very hectic and chaotic atmosphere outside. The grounds were absolutely gorgeous, the food was incredible, the staff was so kind and our view of the sea was lovely to wake up to every morning.
Now, as I stepped outside, it was a different story...
This was shocking and difficult for me. Not only to see the juxtaposition in these two worlds that overlapped, but to witness a general lack of care and concern for the lower caste. Of course as with most parts of the world there are good/bad, safe/unsafe, wealthy/poor, but the caste system in India is different. There is almost no ability or opportunity to "move up." While some would say the caste is losing its structure as mind-sets change, others look at the local political climate, which seems to ensure that it will continue to thrive. According to the caste system, my days were spent around the "Sudra" or the commoners, peasants and servants, and the "Untouchables."
I ended up wearing cutting samples [clothing made to test size grading and fit] of my line around every day. They were thin, comfortable, and I didn't care how dirty they got. Win win!
Being able to see first hand what beads and stones and bindings were available was incredible. I could not believe all of the options! These photographs below are not even 1/1000th of what I saw.
One of the best parts about Mumbai was the FOOD. Ohhhhhh it hit the spot! A few of the best dishes are below, but nothing beats the mangoes. Hands down the most delicious fruit I have ever had. They aren't normal mangoes like we get in the states. They are bright orange, juicy, and make the best breakfast, smoothies and snacks a tired, traveling gal could hope for.
I loved exploring your markets, meeting your people and stretching my creative muscles...thanks for being good to me, India. xxSF.