This Year In India (2018)

This Year In India 2018, Laloom Kaftans

 

Once again, I have hurtled headfirst into the hubbub that is New Delhi, India.  In the pursuit of fabric for the next collection of Laloom Kaftans, it was time to dive into the mountainous rolls of fabric and pluck the 'gems' from the rest.

This year I ventured to Delhi on my own....no support, no second opinions.  Yep, the thought was pretty scary, but I held my head high and strode confidently through the 2 weeks.  I won't say there were no hiccups, but there weren't too many.

Being my second time in Delhi, I had already experienced the various ways to get around this big, bustling, busy, city.  I knew which forms of transport were safe and easy, and I had already had some practise at standing my ground and bargaining for a reasonable fare. 

My favourite form of transport is the rickshaw.  I love whizzing in and around the cars, buses, motorbikes, pushbikes, pedestrians, and cows, and I have decided that there is no better way to experience the sounds and smells of this exciting city.

In an attempt to make my first solo trip as easy as possible, I chose to stay in the same hotel as last year.  I knew where it was, I knew the internet was reliable 🤨, and I was able to explain to the various taxi and rickshaw drivers how to get there.

Kaftans from India, Laloom Kaftans


My sourcing trip always begins with sifting through roll after roll after roll of fabric.  Many long hours and many long days were spent in fabric stores, draping fabric around my body every which way, taking photographs, and trying to envision the kaftan that could be made from each fabric.  Once my decisions were finally made, I felt I had chosen the best fabrics and prints available. 

With so many gorgeous fabrics to choose from, the task is a mammoth one and even after my decisions were made I was still shown more, more, and then some more.  Thank goodness my suppliers kept bolstering me with cups of tea, water and often lunch as well.

India Kaftans, Laloom Kaftans


Funny Story

That leads me to a very funny story.....Everywhere I went, I was asked if I wanted an 'English breakfast' cup of tea, and I thought that 'English breakfast' tea must be quite common in India.  On my first visit to one of the fabric stores, I was asked if I would like a cup of tea, and I replied that I would love an English breakfast, please.

The store owner said he didn't have any and would get me one.  I asked him not to bother I was happy with any black tea.  Not long after, I was told my tea had been ordered and would arrive soon.  Bottles of water kept appearing but never a cup of tea.  I thought they had forgotten and I didn't give it another thought.

2 hours later, the store owner called me into his office, my English breakfast had arrived.....I think you have probably guessed it by now.....an English breakfast had definitely arrived.....eggs, hash browns, mushroom, tomato, beans, toast, etc.

Kaftans India, Laloom Kaftans

The store owner told me that he was not able to get an English breakfast in his area and had rung his friend who owns a restaurant.  His friend called his chef, asked him to go to the restaurant and make and deliver an English breakfast to me!!!!!  When I explained that the English breakfast I asked for was actually a cup of tea, we all had a good laugh.  All was ok, but I'm sure you can imagine my embarrassment.

Sight Seeing

Travelling solo meant that everything took a little longer.  It took longer to wade through the fabric rolls, and longer to make decisions.  Every night I poured over the photos I had taken, documenting the fabrics that worked well with the kaftans I had in mind, and documenting those that didn't.  Together with meetings with my manufacturer, talking neck placements, embellishment placements, my 2 week trip went by in a flash.

I did, however, manage to squeeze in an afternoon of sight seeing and this year I chose to go to Chandni Chowk markets.  Chandni Chowk is one of the oldest markets in Delhi and is the busiest and most chaotic market I have been to.  Narrow streets full of stalls selling everything from spices through to jewellery.  Congested, noisy, and quite overwhelming, the Chandni Chowk market experience is one I won't forget in a hurry!

Laloom Kaftans India, Laloom KaftansIn this photo:  Chandni Chowk Markets


That brings to a close the tale of my sourcing trip to India for 2018.  Once again, I have thoroughly enjoyed the experience and look forward to returning in 2019.



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