India is well known for spiritual renewal, spicy food and all the colorful handicrafts it has to offer. Representing Lovestitch, I was sent to India to scout out the new hot looks and fresh ideas and styles taken from traditional Indian fashion. As the in-house merchandiser and chief consultant, this task is essential in keeping up with the boho chic/gypset feel that our line has.
My first stop, Delhi, where the hustle and bustle of everyday life keeps things exciting and fresh, and where the old world meets new world in a melange of sights and sounds. Yes, there are cows on the road, stray dogs everywhere and nonstop movement and noise. A must-see is Dilli Haat at Janakpuri, the largest open air crafts markets that is a favorite to natives and visitors. My mission was to look at fabric prints, embroideries, scarves and bags. Seeing as this was my first stop, I really did not know what to expect. Honestly the place exceeded by expectations, it was just breathtaking. The market was the perfect location for scouting, and I found exactly what I was looking for. After two full days of my search it was time to go to Agra, home to the Taj Mahal and the leather industry.
Not knowing what to expect of a more rural area I was in awe of the dense population and organized chaos of the small town. This is where I decided to take a chance and take a Tuk Tuk all day on a search for leather bags and other local handicrafts for inspiration. What a wild ride! And again, a huge success in finding inspiration for our line. Finding everything I had expected and then some in Agra, I took the next day to visit the Taj Mahal and Agra fort.
On the road to Jaipur in Rajistan I realized that we were headed to a much more organized small city. Finally, a city based on the grid system we are accustomed to in the US. It was so much easier to get around and not get lost. They call Jaipur the "Pink City" because the old town was painted a terracotta pink. This area was just fascinating and absolutely beautiful. The quality of goods here were much higher, compared to the other locations I had visited. The local craftsmen repurposed old materials, like old rugs and tapestries combined with leather and suede to create stunning bohemian style bags. The embroideries were utterly exquisite and the fabrics used the very old block print technique to print on fabrics. Jaipur was a success and I continued my journey into Mumbai.
Mumbai is know as the city that never sleeps and is very cosmopolitan due to the huge influence of "Bollywood". I knew it was a big city, but hadn't expected it to remind me of Hong Kong. It's pretty amazing how much every area has so much to offer. I took to the world famous Crawford Market to collect more samples of fabrics and found a multicultural vibe in Mumbai. More goodies found and a successful two days lead me to my next stop,Goa.
Goa, an untouched tropical paradise. Coconut trees galore, this Portuguese-influenced utopia is just postcard perfect. The bright colored homes, coastal living, church and temple lined streets makes for a picturesque visit. I am in heaven! Hard to focus on work! With only time to visit North Goa, I hit Candolim Beach, where the streets are lined with incredible restaurants and shops. This area seemed to feel like Puerto Rico or Costa Rica just amazing how the Portuguese influence has made this area so different than the other cities I had visited. Day two, Panaji! This is the capitol of Goa and the official business district. I found so much here, from colorful prints to simple summery fabrics the marriage of Latin influence with Indian vintage made for a colorful day. My job is done and now time to take two days for myself, a well deserved break from the busy days I've had.
I am so delighted with all the incredible finds and influences our designers will take from my journey, I hope you will enjoy what's to come! Happy shopping!