At ‘be natural’ we’re great believers in serendipity and meeting the woman behind Lila’Lou was one of those moments. At the end of our first fashion show I was introduced to Hélène, a young mother of two children, who taught herself to design and sew accessories and clothes for children. For the last 2 years had been selling them in artist markets and leaving them in small local shops.She was there out of interest for the fabrics we were using as she was also ready to make a shift to using ‘clean fabrics’ and was also ready to turn a corner in her career.
Loving her style and enthusiasm we decided a collaboration was the way forward for all of us. She was to make us samples of her designs, she chooses the colours and materials used to create them, we with the help of our artisans bring them to life.
That summer she came up with samples of her ideas using some remnants of our cloth. When it came to choosing the fabrics we realised we had hit a block. We hadn’t anything in stock that she had in mind so we asked her to draw what it was she had in mind and we would make them. We wanted just three different designs and in her great enthusiasm gave us many more.
After the agony of choosing just three of her designs we set about creating them with the help of Rakesh. Screen’s were made, fabrics dyed and screen printed with only eco-friendly and herbal dyes, no chemicals. The organic cotton and no dye towels were made and the extremely soft double threaded organic cotton fabric we lined everything with, ordered and ready for us to collect. Only the organic cotton lining was posing a problem and continued to be until the last moment.
Upon my arrival in India all the fabric were stacked ready to be bought to life. The first step – our tailors make a sample of her work with the new fabrics to see how they look and the quantity of fabric it uses to set about making a collection. We also wash all our new samples once to see if they wash well and remain in shape. I believe if they can survive an Indian washing machine which ties all the cloths up
in knots it can survive anything.
The order was in and fabrication was to start immediately after Diwali. It’s the only time of year that all our workers take five days off to celebrate their new year, a sacrilege that I wouldn’t want to get in the way of and an opportunity for me to take the only holiday I was having this year, at the beach.
With the holiday over it was all hands on deck to get the order ready for my departure. Three weeks of creativity, fun and laughter was had by all with amazing results.
One of my dreams came true!
To design our own fabric and transform it into something worthwhile for those wearing it and without harming for the planet.
It can be done…..