abril 11, 2024

10 years of collaboration with The Stitching Project: 10 years of Fashion Revolution

10 years of collaboration with The Stitching Project: 10 years of Fashion Revolution
How timely it seems to be that last week - the 10 year anniversary of my first meeting with Fiona Wright from The Stitching Project popped up on my Facebook feed.
I remember it like it was yesterday, but it also feels like a lifetime ago. Some meetings do change one’s life and this one certainly did.
One of my Fremantle friends had come back from Jaipur designing her jewellery collection and she said: “I have met this Australian woman in Pushkar during the Camel Fair. She has started a grassroot textile project with her partner Praveen and they work with their community trying to empower rural women who have very little employment opportunities. You guys should meet“
At the time, I had walked out of my job with Ralph Lauren and was planning a trip to Nepal where I was hoping to expand The ANJELMS Project further from our Bali operations. I sent Fiona a Facebook message and asked her how far she was from Kathmandu (I hadn’t ever travelled to this part of the world). She had a two week window for me and three weeks later after an hour flight from Kathmandu and a 12 hour community bus ride from Delhi, I landed in Pushkar.

Me (left), Fiona (next to me), My mum Maryvonne (third from right) and Praveen (right) during our trip in 2018.
We had arranged to meet under the post office big tree and on this day, a white four wheel drive stopped and out came Fiona with her signature ginger hennaed plaited hair and Praveen with the brightest smile that he is well known for.
It happened that on that day they were both visiting The Stitching Ladies to introduce them to the concept of an exhibition that was to happen in Newcastle featuring flags that the Ladies would freely embroider around the words: peace, Love and Hope in English and Hindu.
Before I knew it I was sitting with a group of 20 women attentively listening to Fiona and Praveen, some excited, some more reserved. Madeleine, my daughter who had recently deferred University and was travelling with me was, like me, mesmerised. This visit of 2 days became 5 and we packed boxes with work they had done to bring back to Australia. What struck me that day is how one woman could change the life of so many with just one idea - one dream, and how craft was an incredible medium to make it happen.

Fiona and the Stitching Ladies During our celebratory lunch and during the creation of our Ultimate Play Date collection in September 2023
Ok, it takes a certain kind of woman to make this happen, and Fiona has been a mentor for me for the past decade. She is strong, tenacious, resilient, courageous and has incredible energy. She is a mother and a teacher as well as a recognised textile artist which shows that she is incredibly disciplined, organised, leads by example, creates systems and structure needed to empower her team, but also capable of great empathy and humour when needed to provide support and encouragement. She has taught me to stop and listen, to take the time to learn and to show up with humility as a guest ready to learn a new culture and adapt to it.

The expert block printing team (Parwun in the middle is the master block printer)
Fast forward 10 years and 23 collections - I feel incredibly blessed to have been on this journey with Fiona, Praveen and the team of the Stitching Project, including The Stitching Ladies. I could talk for hours about each individual but you may have to visit one of our stores in Fremantle for that. Together, we have reached milestones, faced adversity like the Covid years, we have worked incredibly hard on either side of the world and together, we have laughed, we have cursed but we have always had and always will have each other’s back. So for anyone who doubts that one person can change the world, I hope you meet your Fiona Wright - it will change your life to start with, and it will inspire many others I promise.
Some of the wonderful ladies of The Stitching Project
For those who would like to meet and learn from Fiona, who now runs The Stitching Project from New South Wales, you can also choose to explore the world with her on one of her textile craft tours. Whether it's in India, Ghana, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Morocco or Romania.
Check out her Creative Arts Safaris website here.

Dejar un comentario