Jessica Jayne; Nupur Goenka (left) with Turkish photographer Beste Zeybel at Sahara desert
Two creatives with itchy feet and an insatiable quest for meaningful journeys on what moves them out of the ordinary. Read on…
“I’ve begun to love living and learning through my travels”, says Jessica Jayne, the nomad-spirited founder of the holistic organic beauty and wellness brand Pahadi Local. At a time when we are constantly in the search for everything fast and everything new, Jayne decided to take a U-turn from her life in Mumbai and trust her new-found love for simplicity in the Himalayas. “I’m definitely far more comfortable in the hills, and the kind of travel I do now is far more extensive and out of normal terrain that I wouldn’t even have dreamt about five years ago.”
Jayne’s travels take her to the nooks of the Himalayas from where she not only sources her products but also learnt to make Ladakhi chai from a local in a 200- year-old home. She is a treasure trove of Nicobarese raw fish recipes like kukari and triveli and hoards gifts like 50 million year-old fossils from the mountains and fruits from local orchards. Her unbelievably simplistic approach translates into her products that are just as ‘pahadi’ as her. “There’s a certain magic in the mountains that is unexplainable. They humble me and have grounded me,” shares Jayne.
When it comes to Nupur Goenka, creative director of the clothing brand Aish Life, travel is much more than just itineraries and bucket lists.
“Travel keeps me sharp—like a newly sharpened pencil. I feel alive, alert, and completely present,” says the 40 year-old self-taught designer. Her wardrobe is an enviable medley of carefully curated souvenirs, like a kimono clutch from Tokyo, a gold lamé kaftan from Marrakesh, a 20 year-old Áo Dài (Vietnamese national garment), and custom-made boots from Edinburgh. It’s true that her work takes her places, but Goenka has also carefully stitched her yearning for the unknown into the tapestry of her brand with prints and motifs from global artistic influences. For instance, the Japanese attention to detail and their minimal aesthetic has long been a source of inspiration for her.
Born and brought up in Kolkata, the city laden with culture, history and striking nostalgia, it is no surprise she admits to bringing back ”visual stimuli” from different places. It is here that she fell in love with textiles and fabrics and travelled across the state visiting the looms of Bengal. While her love for textiles and fabrics has taken her around the globe, Goenka admits to coming back to the diversity of India: “I love the gossamer muslin of Bengal, the ornate brocades of Banaras, the soft airy cottons of Tamil Nadu and the gold in the mangalagiri! We are truly blessed to have such masterpieces, all in our backyard.”