Passion Lilie did not appear overnight; there has been a succession of events in my life leading up to this moment. Passion Lilie is my destiny.
In high school, when we had to research three careers, my choices were: costume/ fashion designer, boutique owner and interior designer. Then I went to college at UC Irvine where I worked night and day, both in the classroom and in the theater, alongside professionals, teachers and graduate students to soak up all the knowledge I could about costume design. I continued to work in costume design after college in several theaters in California.
During that time, I also took every opportunity that I could to travel around the world, having visited and lived in about 26 different countries. These travels have allowed me to connect with numerous different people and amazing cultures. I’ve learned to appreciate the opportunities given to me, and have cultivated a desire to help others in need.
Throughout my studies as a Master’s student in the South of France I learned about ethical and sustainable fashion. A whole new world opened up for me; it felt like a perfect combination of my passions and values in life.
When I moved to New Orleans, I got a job as the Executive Director of a fair trade organization, where I gained a deep understanding of fair trade from a marketing, production and social stand points.
In the summer of 2012, I went to India to visit a workshop in Bhopal, India where I designed and manufactured dresses for the organization I was working for. After working with Indian artisans, I was invited to visit a poor village where several of them lived. The feelings and emotions I felt when I arrived at the village are virtually indescribable.
The absolute, most amazing experience was when I asked a struggling single mother what she would choose if she could have anything in the world? The woman answered, “Happiness and prosperity for my children”. My heart was truly touched and so I asked the workshop owner if it was appropriate to give her money. He said, “No, they don’t want money. They want jobs.” At that moment, I realized what was to be my mission in life. I went back to New Orleans, put the pieces of the puzzle together and by January of 2013, Passion Lilie started to bloom.
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First the designer creates a design or pattern for the fabric on the computer or paper. A master craftsman then traces the design onto the block and chips away the block to create the design. Creating the block can take 7 to 10 days, depending on the complexity of the design.
The fabric is pre-washed in the river in order to reduce water consumption. It is then bleached or dyed, laid flat on a table and fixed firmly to the table with pins. Four to five basic colors are used that are mixed together to form a multitude of colors. The colors are sometimes made with vegetables or plants in order to create a natural dye. The process of block printing is done from left to right during which the woodenblock is dipped in acolor tray then applied by pressing it hardly on the cloth.
Good printing requires skill and practice in order to create uniformity and clear block printing patterns. The duration and cost for printing depends on the number of colors used i.e. single color printing takes less time and has a lower cost whereas two or more color printing requires more time, hard work and ink.