My passage to India…

In the next half a year I, Marie Vahl, will be writing in this space with my musings of the Indian fashion industry. But let me first introduce myself.

I’m normally a student at London College of Fashion, studying the business side of the fashion industry with a great interest in all things ethical and sustainable. Just one week ago however, I left behind everything I know of in Europe and took a flight to New Delhi. This is my first time in Asia, and I will be staying here for 5 months studying with the business management students at Pearl Academy of Fashion.

Sadly I have spent my first week being ill. Funnily enough it’s not the Delhi belly nor malaria or cholera, but just a simple cold. Because I forgot all about air-conditioning and decided to leave the house without a cardigan. Yes, problems always arise from the most unforeseen angles.

Besides driving around the city like crazy on the first day to see everything, all I have managed this week was to make sure to attend all my classes for their introduction – manufacturing, merchandising, marketing, entrepreneurship etc. The most interesting subjects to me are probably going to be the ones about manufacturing. The lecturers here have such a different point of view from my lecturers back in London, and fortunately they are actually more concerned about working conditions and the environment than what I had even hoped for. They ask students if their father’s factory is compliant and point out important safety issues in their videos from factories. My coursemates are also the friendliest people on earth, very concerned about my wellbeing and making sure I don’t spend my time at boring tourist places. So you’ll understand why I’m quite excited about my course to get started and this cold to disappear.

One thing that I did manage to experience is the richness of Indian food. The university canteen is amazing when it comes to cooking chole bathure – it’s this amazingly fatty bread that you dip in a brown chickpea dhal. I haven’t yet managed to take a photograph because I get in a real hurry tasting it, and then it’s just too late. However, today when I came to the little park near there was a big group of graduates dancing in the middle of the afternoon to the music of a few drummers. I was just enjoying my lunch of this funny cheese roll totally unable to move in the heat while they were all dancing like crazy.

Looking ahead I’m planning some trips around India. One of the first stops will be a textile museum of hand-printing outside Jaipur established by an Indian brand that promotes the old crafts in their designs. I will also be visiting a fair trade factory in Bangalore in October – and I will of course also report on the factory visits planned through my university here. I hope you’ll enjoy following my journey.

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