A Business, a Dream, a Mission
In the previous chapter we left our mother with her daughters, telling them about her travels and about the women of the lake who spun silk from the Lotus flower. They listened while she described the houses perched on wooden stilts where mothers passed the skill of the Lotus silk down to their daughters. Inspired by the story, with the cloth still clasped in her hand, one of her daughters suddenly felt something. It was purpose, calling her back to the lake. “I will go too, mum. I think there is something for me too in that land”, exclaimed the young woman with dreams already filling her head. Now she had a mission, just like her mother. She was determined to make a difference in the world and she would let nothing stand in her way.
She packed her bags and prepared for the journey, ready to head back to Myanmar. There the daughter visited the workshop where her mother had discovered the Lotus fibre not long before. She spent time in the workshop getting to know the artisans; eating the local home-cooked food. She went with the lotus pickers on the long boats and travelled around the village meeting the families and the local women who worked from home. She met young women and older ones; all working with precise, confident gestures and a serene look in their eyes. Every step of the process, every action was carried out with such care, such grace...the daughter was simply mesmerised. In the workshop she could sense a cheerful, vibrant energy.
She thought of her experience of fashion as she knew it: fast, competitive, sharp. And then she thought of the harmony, the graceful movements of those women in the workshop, so full of serenity and purpose. She looked at the peaceful waters of the lake partially covered by patches of green leaves and the pink petals of the Lotus that harvesters picked every day on roaming boats gently. She saw children play on the shore while their mothers watched them while working. Then she thought of the rivers turned toxic from the dyes and of mothers and their daughters making clothes in dark sweatshops where conditions were poor, the hours were long and the pay a misery. “This is not the world I want to leave for my children”, she thought. I want for them a beautiful planet to call ‘home’ and happy people to call ‘family’.
In that moment she knew. To do so she would tell the tale of threads like the Lotus and of the people behind it. She would find more stories like that, stories where fashion is meaningful, fair and kind.
Just like her mother before her, she now had a mission. Just like her mother, she was determined to make a difference in the world and she would let nothing stand in her way.