INDIA is not just a Mecca for spiritual seekers from the west but for fashion designers, who flock to its shores for the subcontinent's age-old skills in embellishing fabrics.
Whether it's dyeing silks in vibrant colours, embroidery, beading or block printing, some communities have been masters of these crafts for hundreds of years.
These days fashion designers are heading to India by the hundreds to add that special touch to their couture.
The country is a manufacturing base for Collette Dinnigan, Brisbane fashion house Easton Pearson and on a more industrial scale, H&M.
Now five of our region's aspiring designers are headed there on a fact-finding trip.
The five, studying a Diploma of Fashion and Applied Technology at Wollongbar TAFE, are the recipients of a grant to partially fund the trip.
Student Maria Nillson said India was an amazing place for fashion designers wanting special touches on creations.
"They're famous for their quality and treatment of the fabric," Maria said.
"I have a friend who does shoes and bags over there. It will be a huge eye opener."
There's a moral dimension with the focus on ethical manufacturing and the students will work with the Sambhali Trust that supports under-privileged girls and women.
"They're very needy, they don't have any means to support themselves so we're wanting to donate some live-stock," TAFE teacher Nicola Harrington said.
"That will hopefully empower them to support themselves with a dairy business."
Ms Harrington predicted the trip would be invaluable for the students
"It's quite a quick trip but very enriching and very broad which is going to cover a lot of this unit on manufacturing and ethics."
To raise money to complete their funding of their trip and for the Sambhali Trust, the students are throwing a Bollywood bash on Sunday in Byron Bay.
Where: Byron Youth Activity Centre, 1 Gilmour Cr, Byron Bay
When: Sunday, 5-9pm
Featuring: Maude Boat, The Bollywood Sisters, henna tattoos, bindies, chai, lucky door prize, Indian food and treats, fun workshops including fabric printing, market stalls.
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