Aug - Sep 2008
I returned to the city where our workshops were getting ready to begin the stitching process. A plan was put in place so that we could complete at least one set of each line in 4 weeks, which meant, 11 products before I had to fly back to Canada. A tall order for such a highly technical project but my talented team was up for the challenge.
The Holi quilt has over 200 patches that had to be cut precisely in the right sizes and then stitched together to create the contemporary design that we now see in the final product. The circles were then appliqued on top with careful precision. The range of colors is truly amazing in this product and even though it took the artisans a little longer to get this done to perfection, it was worth the wait.
For maximum energy efficiency in production, all the fabrics are usually dried in natural sunlight so abundantly available in India. Since our collection is inter-changeable across product lines, the fabric production was also done in the most efficient process, hence, reducing wastage of raw material and minimizing environmental footprint.
Like I said, monsoon was in full swing in Calcutta. One of those days, as I was on my way to the workshop, the rain came pouring down. The already narrow streets of Calcutta were now getting jammed with cars with nowhere to go and water filling up every possible place that it couldn't get drained out of. I did have my rain boots with me, so I donned them on, and got out of my cab to walk the rest of the way to the workshop.
Needless to say, my fashion statement caught the eye of every rain-drenched passerby. These people having lived in this city for years and years, and having dealt with many such monsoons, found it very amusing that someone actually wore rain boots to protect their feet from getting soaked in the filthy waters of all the open drains around us! I, on the other hand, couldn't help but wonder if they were actually envious of my foresight and my cute little boots!
The designs were challenging yet fun to work with. It was not always smooth sailing as we had trouble keeping the cotton-like-jacquard tops to work with the smooth silkiness of the backs when the quilts had to be stitched through and through. Keeping all the various geometric patterns straight posed quite a challenge even for the master artisan. They came up with their own methodology and technique to match the various jacquard triangles.
There were many such issues but with careful attention to detail and skilled artisanship, we were finally able to put together our samples for our first collection. It was time for me to say goodbye to my production team in Calcutta and head back for Vancouver and then onto New York for our photo shoot and review of samples.