caro focuses on cashmere procured from weavers in Ladakh, a region in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir; my creative director Ritesh lives and works in Delhi and so does our key team member Alessia, another Italian lady who supervises logistics, production, quality and crucial for every decision.
Planning in Delhi requires extreme flexibility, an open mind and a calm spirit. As an entrepreneur sitting in Stockholm, with sourcing and production on the other side of the world, this can be challenging at times. Unmet deadlines, festivities and festivals, traffic and marriages are what I call externalities in India. It helps to keep a positive attitude. I have learnt to see things from a different angle: “Its not falling apart, it’s all coming together."
Last week, Ritesh and Alessia were busy with the photo shoot for our Autumn-Winter campaign; models and crew gathered at 6am at the location we chose: Mohali Archaeological Park, an archeological area adjacent to Qutub Minar. The park encloses a series of tombs, palaces, step-wells and ruins spanning the Sultanate, Mughal and British periods.
During the planning of the photo shoot, we weren’t sure whether we needed a permit from ASI (Archaeological Survey of India). As the process was quite complicated and we didn’t’ have time, we decided to go ahead without it.
By starting early in morning, the crew would have avoided guards and visitors, while catching the best light of the day.
Ritesh told me that while taking the final pictures, some guards approached them and asked them to leave since they didn’t have a permit. When a controversy starts in India, it will lead to more actions and more discussions.
Mohali Archaeological Park around 10am, 38o: photographer, artistic director and guards were debating; the models were waiting in their winter outfits and scarves. After about forty minutes, the guards suggested to move to an adjacent park, which was not under their jurisdiction, and would let them off the hook.
At the new location, still in the surroundings of the archeological site, the crew started working again, when two policemen joined them. They claimed that they should have been informed of the action, due to high crime risk in the area. One policeman decided to give Ritesh one more hour to finalize and leave. But after only twenty minutes, few villagers reached the site and claimed their property over that land, offended by the police decision, which they didn’t have the right to take.
At this point, Ritesh was satisfied with the work done, and decided to leave the villagers to their land, the policemen to the supervision of the area and the guards to the jurisdiction of the beautiful ruins of the archeological site. Along with few dozen curious people that in the meantime gathered around them.
One could argue that without a permit the crew should have left earlier.
In the end, the location turned to be the perfect setting for our campaign. All’s well that ends well.