By now you’ve probably caught wind that our April catalog was shot in the most magical land of India — a place I so badly would love to explore. While a trip to India has not yet happened for me, it has happened to a group of people I see every single day: our catalog team.
I remember talking to our assistant catalog stylist Mackenzie at the beginning of February when the team had just returned from the trip… how everything she said made my eyes widen up and my heart beat a bit faster. After that conversation, I can remember saying to myself: I’m going to India.
Now that our catalog and short film are out for all to see, I thought I’d pick Mackenzie’s brain to find out exactly what she experienced on that very first trip to India.
Mackenzie! When you first found out you were going to India, what came to mind?
First off I was speechless, I thought, “Is this real life?” India is one of those places I’ve always dreamed of being able to go to. I thought of all the color, all the amazing pieces Free People designs that are inspired by India… so much ran through my head that I don’t even remember my first thoughts!
Now that you’ve been there, looking back, what comes to mind?
Chaos…chaotic in the best way possible! It is so different from here that everything seemed so crazy to us, but to them it works. Driving around the city you see a crazy amount of cows and dogs roaming everywhere, cars, tuk-tuks, and mopeds (with women side-saddling them in their gorgeous colorful embellished ensembles) coming from every direction, not to mention all of the people walking around!
Which parts of India did you get to visit? Which was your favorite?
We flew into New Delhi and drove 5-6 hours to Jaipur, The Pink City. We got to visit the markets, Chomu Palace, Amber Fort, and we also got to see a lot while driving to and from different locations! My favorite place that we got to visit besides the markets was Chomu Palace. We were there for two days and we were some of the only people there — we were isolated from most of the public. It was such a beautiful Palace; every room you walked into had its own character and unique details.
Is India as wild and visually-stimulating a place as its reputation leads us to believe?
Yes, it is wild for sure and very visually stimulating. The architecture was beautiful – while driving and walking around, my head was always up and out the window, looking and soaking up all of the lovely things there were to see. There is so much detail — from the outfits to the buildings, there was so much inspiration that came from this trip.
Did you get to do any shopping? Tell us about what you brought back with you!
We did not get much shopping in since we were so busy, but on the last day before driving back to Delhi to catch our flight we had a couple hours to go to the markets. I brought back embroidered shirt jackets for my little sisters, some goodies for my grandparents, some jasmine/rose/patchouli oils, metal traditional bracelets, henna, a jewelry box, matching skirt and top, silver and turquoise flower ring, and I got some mini slippers at a stand in the market. If I had gotten much more I don’t think it would have all made it back with me — my luggage was stuffed full! When I go back I am going to make sure to save some extra room in my luggage — they have amazing textiles and jewelry I am certain I would love!
What advice would you give to someone going to India for the first time? Do you think it’s a trip that one could easily take solo?
Go with an open mind! Like I said before it’s so different from here that you have to go with an open mind expecting nothing and just soaking it all in and looking at the joy in it. Always be cautious and careful or your surroundings, and bring appropriate clothing – stay covered! None of us in the crew got sick because we stayed away from the street food, so unless you are going to be spending months on months there, just do yourself a favor and stay away from street food — you don’t know what your tummy will think of it. This is a place I think everyone should go to — it really does open your mind.
And finally… do you see yourself going back?
Yes, without doubt! I would love to go back to India and really spend some time there (months on months) and get to know the culture. I don’t think I would go back to Jaipur since I have already seen it, but I would love to go to Goa and see the beaches, I think Darjeeling would be amazing, and Kashmir too. The answer to this is YES, I can’t wait to go back!!
Thanks for giving us a glimpse of your trip to India, Mackenzie!
Shop the April catalog!
Follow FP Brigette on Twitter.