OUR TEAM

Hi! I'm Katherine.

I'm very happy to welcome you to House of Wandering Silk; my passion project & ever-evolving, all-consuming labour of love of over a decade.

 

Together with Maria and Reena, our little team in Delhi works with dozens of partners across India to create what I *humbly* think are some of the loveliest textile-led clothing you'll come across. 

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Katherine, founder & director

Born: Sydney, Australia; child of the 80s

Passions: travel, textiles, tea

Favourite thing about running HOWS: working on new textile designs with our partners - the creative scope is endless and the results are always beautiful, even if they may not be usable in a product

Can't live without: Reena's ginger tea

Personal values: equality, freedom & independence

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Maria, operations manager extraordinaire, working at HOWS since 2014

Born: Manipur, India; child of the 70s

Passions: weaving & knitting

Favourite HOWS product: upcycled sari necklaces

Can't live without: Reena's ginger tea

Favourite place in the world: her village in Manipur

Personal values: honesty, hard work & kindness

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Reena, office angel assistant, working at HOWS since 2019

Born: Delhi, India; child of the 90s

Passions: learning about and experimenting with fashion design

Favourite thing to do at HOWS: learn about the textiles we work with

Side hustle: sells her own clothing designs to friends & family

Can't live without: parents

Personal values: creativity, perseverance & loyalty

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Let's get personal - our founding story

I can't tell you the story of HOWS without telling you my story - they're essentially one and the same. So here goes...

 

I was born in Australia but consider myself rootless & feel at home anywhere in the world. Following six years of living full time in Delhi, I I currently split my time between Berlin, Ithaka island in Greece & Delhi, where Maria & Reena manage all our daily operations. When I'm not deep into HOWS work, I'm likely to be off traveling somewhere - or daydreaming about distant lands.

The Beginnings

Despite building a fashion brand, I have to admit that fashion has only ever really been on the periphery of my interests. In High School back in Aus, I shortly dreamt of becoming a fashion designer (as one does). I took a few illustration courses & did my work experience at a well known Aussie fashion brand.

 

But life took an unexpected turn when I moved to Japan at age 18. I lived in Osaka & just outside Tokyo for over five years, completing an undergrad degree in International Relations. This time, spent with international students from around the world & solo traveling all over Asia during holidays, was a real eye opener for me.

 

I left Japan in 2004 with a strong desire to work in International Development. I interviewed, unsuccessfully, with Safia Minney; fair trade pioneer & founder of the incredible organisation, People Tree. That meeting was the kernel that lodged somewhere in my brain, slowly growing over the following years into what would become a compulsion to build my own fair trade company. 

I moved to London and interned with a range of organisations like Human Rights Watch & Oxfam, trying to get my foot in the door. I was thrilled when, six months later, I got an offer to work with an International NGO in Afghanistan. I gave up my tiny, shared-apartment in grey & wet Clapham South for sun-soaked, chaotic & other-worldly Mazar-e-Sharif in the north of country. 

That was the beginning of almost a decade working in the Humanitarian Sector, spending years living in Pakistan, Sudan, Lebanon, Iraq, Myanmar, Vietnam & Kyrgyzstan, chasing conflict, floods, typhoons & earthquakes.

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Baba Pass, Himachal Pradesh, India

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Blue Mosque, Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan

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Swat Valley, Pakistan

 

Textile Love

Textiles & travel are inexorably linked for me. Throughout my travels, I was constantly fascinated by the varied costumes I came across & the people, in particular the women, who kept alive their sartorial traditions.

 

Throughout all my travel - some 70 countries to date - I always, always have one keen & roving eye out for hand crafted, authentic textiles & the artisans creating them; textiles that tell a little of the story of the place & people I meet - pieces of great beauty showcasing ancient skills & dedicated labour.

Textiles were one of the few things that I could easily squeeze into my backpack & carry with me from place to place. Plus their versatility made them functional as well as beautiful. It's no wonder they were used as a currency in the days of the ancient Silk Road.

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