The Kompeksi with 17 cats
Now we had to find somewhere to get the garments made. The export quality manufacturers are huge: they have thousands of workers, and you are expected to order thousands of units per design. Way beyond our range; and they take everything out of your hands – where’s the fun in that?
So Our Girl in Bandung went looking for smaller manufacturers. These are called kompeksi, and they tend to specialise, so we needed to find a few. One for stretch, one for pants and shorts, one for dresses and silk tops.
The first kompeksi we went to was the one who sewed stretch fabric. The woman who owned it worked out of her home, had 10 workers and about 17 cats. Apparently, not long ago she had 40, though we didn’t get to find out what had happened to the others.
We left her with my sample t-shirt design and a metre of stretch rayon, then went on to the next kompeksi. This was the man who specialised in pants and shorts. We left him with a metre of cotton twill and my shorts sample; and then on to the last kompeksi, where we left a metre of linen for them to make one of my dresses.
All this took about a week, so we had no more time to stay. We left Bandung the next day for Jakarta, and had to leave operations in the hands of Our Girl from Bandung.