Through ‘we are KAL’ Catherine Allié is ensuring that traditional weaving practices have a place in the future
What brought you to India?
CA: The first time I came to India was in 2009. When I arrived in Mumbai I really enjoyed the madness - it challenged me and also gave me wonderful moments at the same time. After my travels in South India I traveled to other Asian countries. When I finished my studies I looked for an internship in countries with a different culture from my own. I wasn’t fixed on India, but things just work out as they do, so all of a sudden, in September 2012, I found myself in Delhi starting an internship in a social start up.
What are the origins of ‘we are KAL’?
CA: The idea of KAL (which means yesterday/tomorrow in Hindi) started in May 2013. I was living in India, and always had the desire to discover more about Indian textiles and fibers. Over the years, in Europe and India, I had observed that so many products don’t tell the whole story or are even labeled wrong, especially concerning the fibers used. This did not fit with my idea of making art or an object; this is just creating a product without disclosing its origins and ingredients to the final customer. My love for discovery and the unknown came in and I just knew I had to go out and find people who produced natural fiber, and make it into textiles.
In this phase of wondering and shaping the idea my flat mate at that time, Lisanne de Bakker, gave me very good inputs and KAL became what it is from our work together. We see textiles as a great subject revealing origins, people and stories. Though I studied Business Administration at the Paris School of Business, I have always been into fashion and textiles as well as different cultures, so I decided to start researching to get a deeper understanding of the making of textiles. ‘we are KAL’ is a community of individuals who are all part of the creation of a product. We are farmers, spinners, weavers, nomads, designers, knitters and culture lovers who made it their goal to create meaningful products in harmony with nature and humanity.
How did you build a team of weavers in Ladakh and Assam?
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