2 months overdue-Beijing

Well it really has been a long time, partly due to pure laziness and partly due to being very busy. Since last time i wrote here we accomplished a complete, well almost complete collection for Cashmere World in Beijing which was very successful. Ive also been out to the countryside a few times, including a great horseride in the snow. Oh and of course since my last post the temperature has dropped about 20 degrees, tough to deal with but strangely it is possible. I also spent almost 2 weeks back home in England, which was tough as although it was lovely to see everyone you realise you have to say goodbye again and then deal with the terrible jetlag that follows. And how could i forget we had Christmas!!!

So starting at the beginning in November we took our new collection to Cashmere World, the weeks leading up to the tradeshow, especially the last few days were manic, but we made it. i went to Beijing 3 days early to visit my cousin who has been living there for a few years now and so i had time to see the city before the work began. I got to see a few sights including Pan Jia Yuan market, the 798 Art district and a district i forget the name of that has the traditional courtyards. Oh and how could i forget the Forbidden City.

I was very surprised by Beijing, it was truly massive and impressive, as i was driving in the taxi from the airport to the city centre i was in awe of the size of the city, especially after having lived in UB for 3 months, the sky scrapers, the shopping malls and the amount of people in the city. But by far the best thing about Beijing was food and eating, i was greatly in need of some variety of food and i got it, from Chinese hot pot to Japanese sushi, and of course the famous Peking Duck. I started my trip with the Hot Pot, my first experience of cooking my own food at the table and it allows you to eat endlessly as you get to rest and then cook some more, my favourite kind of eating, the kind that never ends. The following morning i awoke and had a fab breakfast and coffee, then we headed to the Market where i spent most of my money of the trip, i do love a flea market, you never know what you will find or what to expect and the haggling makes it all the more appealing. It was also a great opportunity for taking photographs as you can see below.

Later that afternoon we headed to the 798 District which i was very excited about as i had heard so much about it and i was quite blown away by the place. It was much more established than i expected and much busier, but then again it was a Saturday. Once again there was so much to see and do, my camera got worn out from so much use. It was great to see Beijing having an area dedicated to it’s artists even though they do not have full license to create as they please as we all know….

So later on it was mealtime again, fish and bamboo and chillis oh my…how i love to eat. Sunday we went down to the Forbidden city, the site you are meant to see when you go to Beijing and it was impressive but there is only so much Chinese History i can take in one day, half-an-hour was more than enough for me, but of course i had to visit it.

I much prefer to just wonder around which we did in the afternoon in an older part of town, the first area i had actually seen so far in Beijing that was old Beijing, everywhere else had been new and modern. My final night of freedom before the work began was all about sushi, my lack of fish consumption over the previous 3 months was bumped up for sure in one weekend in beijing.

So Monday morning i moved from my cousin’s apartment to my hotel in the North, right next to the bird’s nest Olympic stadium, i managed to miss all of the Beijing olympics as that summer of 2008 i was telly-less in Barcelona, but i got to see the stadium every morning and afternoon of the week as the trade show location was on the other side of the stadium, thus a picturesque walk twice a day.

I got to the tradeshow to find my colleagues setting up the stand already, they had managed to bring many a tree from Ulaanbaatar via train, bus and jeep all the way to Beijing and then built shelves and rails for our beautiful yak and cashmere shawls/throws etc to hang from. We had by far the most inviting stand of Cashmere World, and that is not a bias opinion. The following days we met many interesting, surprising and not so surprising people who took a great interest in our products. I took a great delight and scence of pride for myself and my colleagues when hermes and maxmara took interest in our products, and not so much when others wanted thousands of X product to sell in department stores around China. I also remembered how bad i am with people, i am a designer not a public relations person, we are not meant to talk to clients, they are very demanding and i got wound-up a few times when they wanted this, that and the kitchen sink, now, 10minutes ago blah blah. But anyway, the show was a success we made many connections that i hope the company can maintain after my departure and we also made a bunch of more personal contacts such as a lovely italian vet who had his own co-op in Tibet making yak hair products. The most surprising thing infact was the interest in Yak hair, something my company specialises in. It seems there is a decline in cashmere demand as it has become very mainstream and accessible to all that the luxury market are looking for new fibres to work with, such as Yak, our sustainable, environment loving long haired beast.

So to round up Beijing, we accomplished our aim, to promote Mongolian cashmere, spread the love of yak and to make contacts in the industry. Secondly i ate my heart out, thirdly i got to see a bit of Beijing and some new inspiration, oh did i mention my love of the mops????Oh and the strict pooping rules!!!!!

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About rdamm

I am about to embark upon a V.S.O. placement for one year in UB, Mongolia. I shall be working as a textile designer at Mongol Nekhmel, a textile company that produces cashmere, yak and camel hair clothing and homeware. I shall be sharing the skills i have gained in the last 10 years as a designer, creating connections and helping to open-up the products to the European and Japanese markets, therefore hopefully assisting to bring herding communities out of poverty. The views expressed in this blog are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect those of V.S.O. www.vso.org.uk www.vsointernational.org
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One Response to 2 months overdue-Beijing

  1. Melissa Peters says:

    I love the mops! you look like your having a great time, missed you at Christmas, The stall looked amazing.
    Take care
    love you lots love all of us xxxx

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