My fashion label - Chiel - gives a whole new meaning to the possibility of ‘living the glamour of your dreams’. Chiel garments are beautifully executed, sensuous high-end hand-knits that transport their wearer to a world of glamour and indulgence far beyond the realm of the ‘everyday’.
But it doesn’t stop there. If you wear a Chiel garment, you are, by default, also ‘transported’ to share in the life of its knitter – a skilled woman artisan in a small village in rural southern India.
I have always had a passion for the glamour of high-end fashion and fabrics, and for the endless creative potential of hand-knitting and its luxury fibres. These passions led me on my own ‘glamorous dream’: to pass on my knitting skills to other artisans who would create exotically individual garments for my own high-end label.
What better place to follow my dream than India with its long and colourful history of fine craftsmanship and exotic fabric? And so it happened that, in an inspiring and uplifting extension of my dream (that I would not have predicted in a million years), I have also been able to contribute to the lives of the women artisans whom I am able to skill and employ in this developing country.
While the women are happily employed in their own villages, they can also use the money they earn to improve their lives and the lives of their families. They eagerly share stories of their changed lives: one talks of a newfound confidence; another is excited about the English lessons she can now provide for her child; and another has been able to tile the (previously dirt) floor of her house…and so it goes on!
I have grown to love these women – their zest for life, their camaraderie, their generosity of spirit, their pride in their work, and their eagerness to learn and grow. This affinity with the women has also been a huge boost to my business motivation – the more garments I sell, the more women I am able to employ!
And, of course, their work is ‘to die for’ – individual pieces of the finest execution, hand-knitted in the finest fibre by one (and only one) skilled artisan. And now, in an exciting new development, I lead small groups (maximum 20) to see the women work and to experience a very personal taste of their village life – an experience that is as unique and individual as the Chiel label itself! Visit www.daniellechiel.com to learn more about the Chiel venture.