The principle of everything
The principle of everything
In a recent conversation with the owner and director of our handbag factory in Ubrique, this wonderful woman told me “I have called your collection the pandemic collection, because it was born in the middle of the covid 19 pandemic.”
I remember a beautiful trip to Ubrique to meet this woman, the only person who wanted to welcome me with a small project in the middle of a world of giants, the world of leather handbags manufacturing in Spain. Big and well-known firms manufacture their incredible models there with all the means at their disposal, the best and most expert tradition in the process of leather goods? There was nothing to suggest that anyone would want to receive a person totally alien to the world of fashion and accessories, a person from a world as different from her own as medicine… In fact, only her opened her doors to me. When we sat down to talk, she told me “Make me believe in your project”.
I knew immediately what kind of woman she was, a determined woman, and very comitted, I could see it in her eyes, someone who puts heart into her work and the courage to get involved in a small project, at least humble in its conception, but a project with soul.
I clearly understood that this was a woman who needed to give meaning and put a lot of feeling into her work without a doubt. I knew I had to give her more than a project, more than a paper bag and a list of ideas, some of them naive and grandiloquent, more than numbers… I knew I had to conquer this woman’s soul, which was not difficult because the connection with her was almost immediate, we both know what moves us and what is worth fighting for. Yes, I would give meaning to the project, and she would give soul to the bags.
I told her about a small project to contribute to an incredible organization with which I travel to Cameroon to try to contribute something in a world that is so unequal, so unjust, so devastating for so many innocent people. I told her about the project, not only to contribute financially, but also with the initial idea of, between surgeries, going to the markets where they sell their colorful fabrics and bringing back something from there to keep their people in mind when we returned to the first world, to promote, albeit humbly, the internal market there and to use the fabrics as complements for our bags.
I spoke to her about a project made by women and for women, I spoke to her about leaving a trail of values for the younger women who come after us, values that today more than ever seem to be fading away, about the importance of preparing themselves thoroughly in a profession, of dignifying their work and their lives by putting passion and effort into everything they do.
And then came the Covid 19 pandemic and with it we became aware as never before of the fragility of the human being, and fear flooded our homes, the uncertainty of death penetrated us to the last bone, the helplessness of those who were leaving in solitude, the coldness and darkness of the night took over our lives, our projects, our illusions and the cruelty of an unknown disease took over our world, a world that we knew was not perfect, but that perhaps in the comfort of our lives in the western world, we lived with the distance of those who were lucky enough to be born on a kinder side. Here we were all dying and suffering, we had completely lost control of the situation.
As an anesthesiologist I lived through the worst moments of the pandemic on the front line, some days I would talk to her, that woman with whom a few months earlier we had shared a pleasant meal talking about projects, dreams and a better world, as if we were two good friends, and suddenly we were on the phone, me telling her about the horrors of those days in the hospital and her telling me with sorrow and fear about the immense difficulties they were experiencing in her factory, I believe that a bond was born between the two of us, our project would have to be postponed, like so many others, we had to survive and in my case also try to help others to survive, we did not know if we would recover our lives as we had left them, not even if we would continue to be the same, or if we would continue to be, we only knew that we had to go ahead and fight, a fight that would maintain hope and illusion, because that was what was most necessary. Our project of working bags for women was relegated to some hidden corner of my head and of the factory that was struggling to move forward during the chaos, but it did not die, it took the form of illusion, the illusion of recovering the health of the world and the hope that in the end, life would prevail.
One day after the first confinement, she said to me, your collection was born in the pandemic, I call it the pandemic collection, so obviating that the name is frightening, I liked the idea that the hope and the illusion that we had maintained during those months, we would not let it die and that perhaps that should be our banner for the rest of our lives.