Last week I made it down to Tilburg, Netherlands to check out the Audax Textile Museum.  The museum has several exhibits on display as well as a completely amazing textile lab (more on that one later!).

One of the exhibits was a new temporary one called iFabric.  This exhibit showcases the works of younger European designers in the fields of textiles, fashion and interiors.  Some of the designers are/were students at some of the most prestigious design schools in Europe—including Central St. Martins in London, Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp, and Design Academy Eindhoven.  In addition to students, there were some young designers who were a part of the museum’s own European Textile Trainees program on display.  The European Textile Trainees program allows for young designers to undertake a working residency in the Textile Lab.

The exhibit was really interesting because it showcased a huge variety of different textile techniques—everything from traditional weaving, knitting and dying techniques to incorporating new technologies and science (there were even some collaborations with chemists and biologists).  Designers played with color, light, organisms, movement and even imitating human hair.

Check out some of the photos that I took of the exhibit.

marlien kulsdom

On Monday, I decided to make my way to the fashion illustration presentation at Charlie + Mary, which is a fair trade/sustainable clothing shop here in Amsterdam.

They had a some of Marlien Kulsdom’s fashion illustrations set up around the shop (I think most of them were for sale) as well as a display section with some cards for purchase (I got a few).  This was their contribution to the Amsterdam Fashion Week Downtown program.

I liked Marlien’s use of color in combination with black and white in her illustrations.  She is also great with detail and a certain amount of realism in her illustrations—something that is a departure from how I work with my illustrations (I work in an almost cartoony manner with my illustrations).

Check out Marlien’s website.  She has images of her illustrations there as well as examples of her other work (graphics, designing).  I like the set up of her website as a portfolio site.

Also check out the Charlie + Mary site.  I liked the store a lot (they’ve got a great mission and concept with the fair trade/sustainable aspect)—-they even had a coffee/cake cafe in the back!  If I ever open a store, I always wanted some sort of cafe/bar thing going on (Wendell Rodricks’ stores in India have a bar)—so it’s nice to see it working.

Here are some photos of the cards I bought.

bandipur inspirations

Back in April I was fortunate enough to have my parents come to visit me for the second time this year!  We went on a week long adventure outside of the valley and Bandipur was one of the places we made a stop.  To get an idea about my love for this quaint little town, here is an excerpt from a recent article of mine:

This past week I made a short visit to the town of Bandipur on my way to Pokhara.  This may seem like a somewhat odd thing to bring up in a column about style and fashion, but I tend to find inspirations and connections to design everywhere.  This visit was no exception.

What I love about Bandipur is the way the town holds onto its history and architecture while much of the rest of Nepal and the rest of the world fervently moves forward with new ways to build up their communities and boost their tourism.  Sometimes these new ways are driven by technology and innovation, which create impressive monuments to modernism and forward thinking.  Sometimes these new ways are driven by the need for speed and the saving of money—which often times leads to lesser quality and more superficial improvements.

It is great that in the midst of all of this, one small town realizes the power and beauty of what they already have and rather than completely change to match what is going on around them, they are standing strong and saying: “Check out what we have to offer!”  This is not to say that they are not making improvements and some changes to keep up with the changing world.  The architecture style has remained the same, but they are doing renovations and structural improvements.  New guest houses and hotels are being put in place to handle the tourism coming through—but they are being done in renovated Newari houses rather than garish new concrete buildings.

This is a great metaphor for the fashion industry.  With fashion, there is always the fight between moving forward to improve the production of fashion and to find new and innovative ideas for the design and sticking with the tried and true ideas and methods of the past.  As with everything (and just like with Bandipur) there is always a middle ground that needs to be found.

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beads: more than just a marriage statement

For a long time I have been meaning to post about one of my favorite places in Nepal: the Kathmandu Bead Market.

What’s a better time than now, on the day that I wrote an article about the very same thing for my Himalayan Times column, Style Watch.  Check out an excerpt from that article:

One of my favorite places in Kathmandu as of late is the bead market in Indra Chowk.

I realize that traditionally women flock to this market (and other bead sellers) to purchase marriage beads.  So as an unmarried foreigner it might seem strange that this is on my list of favorite places.

I have been making frequent visits there recently for my fashion research and development—both work related and personal (I can’t resist a few new pieces of jewelry every once and a while).  I have found this market to be incredibly inspirational with the colorful array of beads, the hustle and bustle of the customers and stall owners, and the wide variety of pre-made jewelry that is laid out before me.  To say the very least, these things have been working their way into my designing.

The jewelry and beads that are available are incredibly stylish and are a great way to add to any jewelry collection…whether you are married or not.  Plus, in certain situations, it can be highly convenient to give the impression that you are.  Girls, you know what I’m talking about!

One of the (many) great things about the bead market is that there are endless possibilities.  If you are a quick shopper, you can look through the pre-made jewelry; with the beautiful options that are available you know you will find something great.  If customizing and designing is more your thing, then you have every color and quality of bead to choose from.  The best part is that they will make it for you while you wait, and you know the craftsmanship will be impeccable.

Catch a glimpse of what the market is like:

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