“What does it mean to be an adventurer?

You can take a lot of mind-expanding drugs — no, it means being part of something bigger than oneself. To be curious, to be conscious, to explore, to get lost, to be found. It means breaking old habits, unlearning, and relearning. Not taking the path of least resistance, which is often what society pushes us down.

That’s the ethos behind [my company] The Lost Explorer, and its products, which are created to have deeper meaning. It’s not about simply making a bag and selling it to someone. I’m interested in what he’s doing with that bag, and how it’s part of his life’s conversation.

I’ve been to all seven continents, and have seen how certain materials, like textiles, hold a lot of stories.

Their fibers have an energy that draws me to them. And a process that starts with a piece of fabric will often spark a conversation that ultimately yields something far more profound.”

“The fabric [on the chair] is French. It’s so fine, it’s almost paper thin in places. It belonged to friends of mine, who were going to throw it away before I said I’d take it.”

“On the back of the chair is a Japanese piece from the late ‘20s or early ‘30s. It’s a most unique textile because it’s made of layers and layers of fabric folded over one another.

You can feel the weight of that process.

It might have been used as a floor covering, or a mat to sleep on.”

“The canvas mailbag came from a market in France. It’s likely from the 1890s. The color intrigued me, as did the notion of a mailman using it to deliver messages from afar — a slower kind of communication the world has since lost.”

“I took this with me on a trip to Mongolia. It’s Iranian, and meant to hold one’s stuff while draped over a horse’s back.”

“The striped piece on the floor is French, probably from the 1900s. I bought it because it looked like a sleeping bag… for two.”

“This is Guatemalan. It’s so soft. The pattern is actually a dying technique, likely representative of the village the fabric came from.

I love its fragility, and how you can really see the weave.”

“When you touch a lot of the textiles, they feel good. Or there’s a certain weight to them. Those qualities speak to the lives they’ve had.”

“Some of the fabrics are hard to trace, but I’ll notice certain indigos or dyes that suggest their origins.”

“The bandages date to the first World War, when they were distributed by ambulances. The illustrations of how to tie them can get quite complex. Little details, like the type of facial hair on the gentlemen, also give a clue as to the era when they were used.”

“I found the natural indigo and brown combination in this cloth sack very interesting. Originally, pieces like this were put on trees to collect produce, like olives, from them. The fruit would fall into the sack, which could then be tied up and transported.”


Photography byBramble Trionfo

As told toAnthony Rotunno

David de Rothschild is an adventurer and the founder of The Lost Explorer.

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