"There is magic here in India. Amongst the noise and chaos, I've found pockets of total serenity which I escape to with my family. Everyday life is an adventure filled with possibility and I hope I never loose that sentiment."
Caroline Weller developed her design aesthetic working for brands like Calvin Klein, Armani, Club Monaco and J. Crew before moving with her family to India and starting her own brand. Derived from the Hindi "Banjaran," meaning a nomad or wanderer, Banjanan is headquartered in Jaipur. Caroline works directly with textile communities in Rajasthan to create hand-printed and hand-screened collections on cotton, silk and other fine fabrics.
I was offered a job out of the blue in India after a 15 year career working in fashion in NY. I'd always loved traveling there, and my boyfriend, our young son, and I decided to take a leap of faith. I knew there was more to my future than the corporate world. The job didn't work out, but we decided to forge a new path rather than run home with our tail between our legs. 8 years later we're still here!
Photo: My boyfriend took this photo as I waited for the 3rd time for a world famous astrologer who never showed up. It struck me as really funny. A lucky escape from fate maybe!?
Where there is strength and determination there is progress! Don't give up or back down, but do trust your instincts and experience.
Photo: The walls of my studio are constantly changing as the season progresses.
I don't have a mentor. But I am continually inspired by others who have struck out on their own and are doing things in a completely original or different way. I like to collaborate and share knowledge.
Photo: I really enjoy visiting the block carvers when they are working on one of my new designs. They are genius and they love it when I bring the dog with me.
There is magic here in India. Amongst the noise and chaos I've found pockets of total serenity, which I escape to with my family. Everyday life is an adventure filled with possibility and I hope I never loose that sentiment. I also thrive on the energy of really nonstop electric cities like NY, Hong Kong or Bangkok.
Photo: My secret weekend hideaway outside Jaipur, India. I need to be surrounded by family, dogs, a garden and a temple bell ringing somewhere in the distance.
My dream is to continue growing Banjanan to become an entire lifestyle brand. It's the tip of the iceberg right now in terms of the consumer's interest in product that is tangibly human and personal. There is a huge opportunity in home and lifestyle as well as clothing for the brand. I'd love to collaborate with like minded brands to pool our resources and message.
Photo: It's a thrill to sit with the embroiderers and work on new designs in a "hands on, real time" way. I never got to do this in New York City.
I get a lot of inspiration from plants and flowers around me. I have a love affair with cacti.
Photo: Yucca plants.
Block-printed fabrics! This is how the inspiration looks translated into a wooden block for printing one of my collections.
Photo: Carved wooden block.
All images used with permission of Caroline Weller.