Bali : Empire of colour

Bali Empire of colour

          From his early days invoking the ire of the FBI, the US Treasury and Nixon’s White House by producing US flag-design “cigarette” rolling papers, Paul Ropp has always been a subversive. In a world where fashionistas go from cutting edge to yesterday’s news overnight, Paul Ropp stays at the top, sneaking bold colour and textures into people’s day-to-day drabness to excite and provoke.


          Paul moved his mini-empire to Bali in 1978, and has since expanded to eight shops in Bali and untold outlets in major hotel chains around the world. He credits his team, some who have been with him for 35 years, with this success. He employs 300 people in Bali and over 5,000 households in India doing hand wearing, embroidery, block printing and other labour-intensive focused development.

          Paul not only stands behind his label; he stands in it. When asked about his favourite item, he pauses for a second before pointing to his simple blue T-shirt and explains why in detail: “Something hand spun, hand loomed, cotton, easy to maintain, pre-washed in a waterhole with three elephants and a water buffalo. It’s going to last.”

A man of complex colours but simple tastes. MT


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