Voyage: Luang Prabang, Laos. A sunset walk along the Mekong River. Courtesy of JADEtribe.
This week, we caught up with Kimberly Hartman, the globetrotting designer behind JADEtribe, to learn more about her Spring 2012 collection. Regularly visiting the artisans that she works with in Thailand, Laos and Indonesia, Kimberly is never short on inspiration. Talk about travel envy!
How did you first discover the artisans that you work with?
In the summer of 2008, I was feeling disillusioned with my fashion job and I had just broken up with my boyfriend, so I was dreaming of an escape. I had enough frequent flier miles for a trip around the world, so I took off to India with my yoga mat and a wanderlust to discover new countries and cultures.
After India, I traveled to Vietnam, Laos, Thailand and Cambodia. In Laos, I took a course in hand weaving and natural dyes and was amazed by the process. I also discovered antique textiles in Laos and began inquiring with the locals as to where I could buy them. My search led me to a remote village, where I now employ women from the local community to hand weave traditional textiles for JADEtribe.
The hubby and I are headed off to the Mayan Riviera this weekend (yay!) for a post-holidays, pre-Valentine’s Day mini-vacay. In honor of one of my new years resolutions to keep things simple, I’m trying to pack as light as possible and bring only the absolute essentials. Here’s my packing list for a few of my must-haves in Mexico!
1. Pom Pom Scarf for a daytime cover-up and dinnertime shawl 2. Warby Parker Thatcher Sunglasses 3. Bossypants by Tina Fey (for a little laugh-out-loud humor on the beach) 4. Pom Cosmetic Bag 5. TOM’s Shoes for hiking through the Mayan ruins 6. FEED Guatemala Bag - perfect for the beach and exploring
As a special treat for this week’s Voyage, one of our customers and dear friends takes us on her journey through Mozambique on horseback. Read on for her incredible story (and pics!)…
I spent the most wonderful month one summer in Vilanculos, Mozambique as a volunteer with Mozambique Horse Safari. The program is run by Pat and Mandy Retzlaff, a couple of white Zimbabwean farmers who were forced out of their homes during Mugabe’s land invasions. They couldn’t imagine leaving their beloved horses behind, and when word spread that they were taking them along, other farmers relinquished their own horses to the Retzlaffs to save them from slaughter.
Pat and Mandy ended up with 104 horses and resettled in Mozambique (after several trials and tribulations). In order to afford the care of these horses, they established the Mozambique Horse Safari, offering beach trail riding for tourists. They also sought volunteers to help out with their fledgling business. So, off I went to help them on their trail rides—doing a lot of horseback riding, meeting awesome people, and hearing remarkable stories. I saw firsthand that whatever money they made first went to feeding and vetting the horses, while they continued to live in very modest quarters.
What is wonderful about the Retzlaffs besides their love for animals is their sense of community. When receiving tourists, they made sure to share “the wealth” by incorporating activities from other businesses run by local people (shoutout: Enrique’s Fishing Village!), who have more limited resources for advertising. Everyday included impromptu adventures from discovering new trails to camping on the beach. My favorite memory was when a rogue buffalo wandered into town, and we decided to track it on horseback, galloping through fields and talking to local villagers while the sun set in pinks and yellows. I went on this trip because of my love for animals, but what I enjoyed most was meeting such humble, sincere, generous, and absolutely hilarious people. They inspired me to live life with courage and an open heart.
Photo Credit: Tomas Askeberg
Being a company that works with designers and artisans from all over the world, we’ve been able to travel to some pretty incredible places near and far to meet artisans, draw inspiration and simply absorb and appreciate new and different cultures. And since we love sharing stories, we decided to create a weekly post called “Voyage” to share a travel photo every Friday of places and experiences that have inspired us.
This week’s voyage takes us to Jaipur, India where we learned about the block-printing process from a skilled artisan there (and even got to do a bit of block-printing ourselves!).
We’d love to see the people and places that have inspired you, so we invite you to submit your own travel photos to us at email@example.com to be included in our “Voyage” column. Please be sure to include the location and source of your photo!
As luck would have it, the hubby and I unknowingly planned the perfect escape from Hurricane Irene - a weekend getaway to Anguilla. A hop, skip and a jump away (or a 4-hour plane ride from NYC to St. Maarten + a 45-minute speed boat ride), Anguilla can be characterized by its long stretches of serene white sandy beaches and its yet-to-be-discovered feel.
We stayed at the Viceroy Anguilla, which was decorated by none other than the inimitable Kelly Wearstler. The rooms have a beachy presence, with elements of nature intertwined into the design, yet still feel incredibly sophisticated and glam. To create this layered oasis, Wearstler juxtaposes natural textures, like one-of-a-kind lamps made out of twisted branches, with modern statement pieces made of cool-toned stone, gold and antique mirrored glass.
Comfort can often be lost in design, but not here - the room is warmed up by an ultra-comfy bed outfitted in - you guessed it - Kelly Wearstler for Sferra egyptian cotton embroidered sheets. The result is a luxurious and textured homage to the incredible surroundings of the island that is Anguilla.
In case I’ve inspired you to head straight to the Viceroy Anguilla, you should know that the hotel is about to head into 2 months of renovation to make this incredible resort that much more incredible (think additional sundecks and amenities, upping the luxury quotient even more).
While I like to completely veg out on vacation, it doesn’t mean there isn’t room for some inspiration. And the Viceroy Anguilla and Kelly Wearstler’s decor provide just that – some R&R + inspiration for the design-conscious.