“There is no beauty in the finest cloth if it creates hunger and unhappiness”
– Mahatma Ghandi
I first met Katherine many years ago at university here in Japan. We were both students from Australia and became instant friends! After graduating, Katherine spent 7 years as an aid worker in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. We kept in touch via Facebook and I was always amazed to follow her travels and was captivated by her photos of her life and work in these countries that seemed so far away. Then one day Katherine decided to act on an idea she had long been thinking about, to make an Eco-Fashion House – see the photo that inspired her here. I LOVE this photo! Can you imagine standing up on top of that Tibetan plateau!?! So amazing. And I love what she writes – it really gives a unique insight into Katherine’s passions and determination, that ultimately led to the ‘birth’ of House of Wandering Silk:
“An idea was born. It required a leave of absence from my daily routine, and didn’t make itself known to me until I was miles up in the de-oxygenated atmosphere of the Tibetan plateau. But when it started kicking, there was no ignoring it. Those cold nights traveling through the backlands of Amdo and Kham were of no concern as my mind raced through a frenzy of “what ifs” and “how tos,” imagining a day when I would have my own fashion house/gallery/teahouse, supplying the world’s fashionable and ethically-minded individuals with handworked delights from the world’s highest and most remote frontiers in Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Tibet, Myanmar, China and Nepal, along with a cup of sweet, spiced chai.
It isn’t just fashion though.
It’s a fresh approach to fair trade.
It’s a comprehensive strategy to promote Himalayan arts and artisans, while probing issues of importance: women and child trafficking, community-led development, female empowerment, sexual exploitation, skill development, the environment.
It’s building links between producers and consumers to grow an organic, fair and sustainable solution to poverty, injustice and inequality.”
This was posted by Katherine on her House of Wandering Silk Facebook page in January 2010, and after 2 years of very hard work, hundreds of hours of brainstorming, and months of setting up the project with the cooperative in West Bengal for the kantha work (as well as lots of cups of Katherine’s favourite Chai:)!), the House of Wandering Silk was born.
House of Wandering Silk has rapidly gained international acclaim in just 7 months of business and is now available globally in America, India, Pakistan and now in Japan from Tokyo Urban Baby Online Shop! Click here to see media coverage of the House of Wandering Silk in Outlook India Magazine!!!