A few weeks ago, I traveled to India with Anchal Project to meet the artisans they employee there and share the story of how they use design as a tool for social and economic change. To say the experience was life-changing is truly an understatement. Read the full feature story for Extol magazine (on newsstands, now) or below:
It’s difficult to describe this part of India to people, because you can’t understand what this country is really like until you have actually been here and experienced it,” Colleen Clines, the co-founder and CEO of Louisville-based Anchal Project, points out as our vehicle zig-zags its way through livestock, people and the occasional camel.
We are with a small group of people that includes Colleen’s mother, her sister, Maggie Clines, who is also the creative director at Anchal, and another writer from Kentucky.
As we make our way toward a local children’s village, I take a moment to reflect on the fact that I was sitting comfortably in the Nashville airport just two days ago. As I take in the atmosphere on an overcrowded highway somewhere between New Delhi and Jaipur, I anxiously wait for my first stop on a trip that will change the way I view the world forever.
Oh, my style mavens, what a week it has been. I took my first trip to Spain, and split my days between Madrid and Barcelona- two very different cities, but both so beautiful and rich in culture.
As I made my journey home from Mercedes- Benz Fashion Week (one that was fraught with pure exhaustion and a mild state of delirium), I gave some thought to what had unfolded in the days prior. I must start by saying that this experience did not begin on such a positive note, and although I am quite the go-getter, deciding to take on this endeavor, virtually by myself, was a bit daunting. I quickly learned that there is no such thing as being over-prepared when it comes to New York Fashion Week, because the fashion industry and the city are always throwing something unexpected your way, and the only way to come out with any sort of sanity, is to learn how to adapt. Unfortunately, this is a lesson that I learned as soon as I stepped my Zara-clad foot into the tents at the Lincoln Center.