The freedom of being a stranger in a new city. Of hearing a language that is foreign yet familiar. An anticipation that comes from packing a suitcase with carefully chosen items…or just taking off and following your heart -- who isn’t longing for their next getaway? 

And just as wanderlust leads you to places filled with new discoveries, my explorations of rural artisan communities have uncovered pools of talent I never imagined existed.

From the pristine Himalayan mountains to the deserts of Rajasthan, every village in India contains pockets of heritage and culture, many on the brink of survival. This February, before the world went into lockdown, my search for JULAHAS’ next partner artisans to develop a handcrafted, versatile and freestyle product took me right to the original wanderers – the gypsies of India.

Dressed distinctly in their Phetiya-Kanchali (a brightly embellished and embroidered skirt and blouse), the Lambanis expertly hold needle and thread in the sunny courtyard of the Sandur Kushala Kala Kendra (SKKK), legs outstretched, piled with fabric waiting to be transformed into textile art. These nomadic Lambani artisans travelled across south Asia to finally settle in the middle and the south of India. Among them sit award-winning artisans; experts in the craft of embroidery, their work having been displayed at London Fashion Week. 

Since 1984, the Sandur team has grown to 500 women with the aim of offering their artisans a steady livelihood and exposure to international markets. JULAHAS is helping them in this journey through a long-term partnership.

Julahas black and white wanderer belt

To live with the wild forests in your heart and look for untold adventures with your mind. To not be defined by convention and have the courage to travel a path less taken. To let the heart and mind wander to places one can only imagine. To be a free spirited soul ready to embrace life’s offerings without judgment.

In keeping with this spirit of wanderlust, I’ve chosen to dedicate the next JULAHAS collection, designed in collaboration with Spanish textile designer Rocio Perez Hernandez, to these original global nomads. To those who are willing to lose themselves in the magic of the unknown -- we bring to you the JULAHAS Wanderer Series of handcrafted belts. To be your closest travel companion and to add that extra sparkle to your dreams.

July 05, 2020 — Kanak Hirani

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