Friday, 23 July 2010

Kolkata and Sasha

22nd July 2010

Woke at 5.30 to be taken to the recycled sari market at 6am by Bipol who works at Sasha. – what a sight to behold. Colourful sari’s as far as the eye can see, it is a textile consumers paradise. It felt like I was at a slightly more ethical Primark, and all I wanted to do was buy, buy, buy!

The market is held on the side of the road, with men and women sitting on the ground surrounded by stacks of bundled saris and the odd polyester western wonder. It starts at 2am and finishes at 8am – there was no shortage so I wondered what it looked like at 2. Bipol was not keen on me taking photos, so I had to do so furtively, probably attracting more attention than if I was a little more obvious. We came across the supplier who Sasha buys their second hand cotton sari’s from and we were led to their ‘warehouse’ it was a tiny room piled to the ceiling with vibrant cloth, spilling out of their bundles. I was made to pick one – 30 rupees (50 pence). Back at the market I am slightly dubious of the ethics, the saris are apparently sourced by a wholesaler who travels around villages buying used saris – some of these saris look totally new, others are stained and ripped. The wholesaler then sells to the stall holders. Even so, I went slightly crazy and felt the need to buy a sari for each of my friends I am to meet in Sri Lanka (this includeds you Hatty!) So girls get ready to get dressed up, next stop – anklets with bells!

At the Sasha office, I worked with the product development team on bag and purse designs – my passion is weekend bags – what is more beautiful than a well designed hold-all I ask?

After lunch of masala dosa I had to head to the train station, where the train left at 5. Sealdah train station in Kolkata, is the largest train station in Asia – so it was not at all overwhelming and smelly. There is still elegance left, if a little grubby.

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