Resident of the world
A majority of my travel began with my work in the apparel industry many, many years ago. I worked with and managed factories and mills globally. Hong Kong, Shanghai, Ho Chi Minh, Lima, Portugal, Taiwan, Tokyo, Vancouver and LA to name a few. Although I never really had the time to do the things you would do as a tourist, I spent my days usually in a factory in a very remote industrial area of many of these third world countries. It wasn’t glamorous and usually the extreme jetlag and strange food made it very challenging at times. Sometimes, during these trips, I would count the days down until I was able to go home, but it was not because I didn’t love what I was doing. Being in these less than perfect places made me remember how lucky I was and how grateful I should be for the life that I have. I have seen a lot when it comes to factory life. I have seen a few bad factories, BUT I have seen a lot more good ones. I could speak volumes to my experience in working closely with the Chinese. I enjoy them and respect them highly for their dedication to their craft. I will admit I cringe when I hear people speak negatively about these people, because I truly feel like they are MY people. We all have our talents and we should all support each other for them. Maybe one day we will look at ourselves and others as global residents of the world with the common goal of creating a better place for ALL of us.
I had a friend ask me what HADLEY was going to do to better the world. Will wearing one of our leather jackets or carrying one of our Ikat backpacks cure cancer? Well, it might cure a little depression i.e. retail therapy, but we probably won't be saving lives right now (although I would love to). What we are trying to accomplish is the education of the dying art of Ikat, batik and other primitive ways of making handmade, gorgeous textiles. We are trying to take you back to a place and time when the things you wore told a story, had history and has meaning. I love the idea that I can take something that is old and collecting dust and transform it into something unique and sophisticated.
I look back very fondly at my experience working with large scale manufacturing, as it has given me the experience to produce beautiful clothing and handbags. I am so excited to start a new adventure here and I hope you enjoy HADLEY collection as much as I do.