My partner at the time, J.P., partnered with myself, had hand sourced every piece of fabric used in this line. Together, from approximately 15 separate locations across Java, in Jakarta, and in Jogja, and Northern Thailand in the hills near the Myanmar(Burmese) border we worked endlessly. Side by side we would go out several times a week, over a five month period, and seek out fabrics as well as handmade artisan goods that caught our eye. It was like a treasure hunt, we would find the "gold" and then fly to the next locale, always a place neither of us had ever seen before...sometimes places we've never heard of that we got tips on from the locals. We began using the Google translate app, and communication to people across the world, from tiny artisan villages to fabric shops in some of the largest cities in Asia.
The goal was always artisan goods. Handmade, unique, detailed. We of course avoided China, but we explored Southeast Asia. It wasn't always all work and no play, there was our time we spent at an Elephant retreat that was run by the girls of the Karen tribe of the mountains of Northern Thailand. We arrived in Bangkok, flew to Chiang Mai, and drove north for hours into the mountains in search of eye-catching handmade accessories and stumbled upon an elephant retreat, where we stayed for quite some time. J.P. loved the closeness we were allowed to get to the animals, I enjoyed them as well and getting to know these girls in the tribe was pretty eye opening and amazing. These girls make a living off of their artisan items, and tourism at their elephant retreat. The beautiful camp was on a mountainside, along a fast flowing river. The camp was for the benefit of the girls of the Karen tribe, basically a tribe of refugees displaced from Myanmar(Burma,) girls from tramatic family pasts, and it gave them a safe haven to live and earn, learn English, and meet travelers from around the world.
After our retreat we traveled to Java, where, in the largest Muslim city in the world, Jakarta, we sourced batiks, and cottons, and amazing printed fabrics. Together J.P. and I saw both the high rise excesses of Jakarta, and it's slums. Definitely a learning experience, and just a huge experience in general.
It was hardly an easy task I had set for myself, and my weary boyfriend. We were becoming basically vitamin deficient throughout this trip, we were very afraid to intake any water in any form and were told to avoid produce due to it's exposure to the water, in certain places. I must have had so must drive and discipline to see it through. My focus was probably pretty out of control, looking back I don't really know what pushed me to walk in 100° glaring sun for hours, covered up wearing headwear and scarves, to learn about cultures, feel the energy of places, and feed the creative child I have within. I have a pretty strong feeling that it's all about giving back, though. I believe that when the ultimate motive is for overall good, the universe will get behind you and gently push. I'm so curious to see where this passion goes and what it evolves into.