Over the last few years, we’ve seen a huge shift in the way fashion is created and consumed in India. Where even half a decade ago, people were going crazy about innovations in synthetic fabrics and large scale, short production cycles… we’ve come back to a point where natural, rough fabrics, the thought, the skill and the slow, careful, artistic hands of a craftsman are being celebrated.
(Also read my article on slow fashion and how it’s shaping the future of the Indian Fashion industry)
This year, at the Lakme Fashion Week 2017, we saw a whole host of gorgeous; artsy, and very creative designers… present really innovative and cutting edge designs, all rooted back in the day. In my mind, this season of Lakme Fashion Week, was more humbling and grounding and far less extravagant than what it normally is! And that for me was a welcome breath of fresh air!
I love how these amazing designers – fashion, footwear and jewellery – are taking inspiration from our traditional age-old arts and crafts… from our culture and lost rituals… and bringing them back in the form of something everyone can relate to – ‘Fashion’!
Here’s featuring two such amazing designers whose work I’ve admired for the sheer meaning and brilliance of their work!
Mumbai based Razia Kunj’s jewellery, inspired by stories from our mythology and ancient folklore is simply to die for! Every piece is a piece of art in itself… If I didn’t know it was supposed to be worn, I’d probably just frame it and put it up on my wall!
This piece that I’m wearing, is from her collection called “Theyyam”!
‘Theyyam’ is derived from the Malyalam word, ‘Daivam’ which means, Deity! It’s a gorgeous ritualistic dance form practiced in Northern Kerala and while someone unaware, might confuse it with Kathakali, because of the similarities in the costumes and make-up, Theyyam is by far, a more divine experience, than it is a dance form.
Theyyam involves virtually all castes and classes (though it is performed mostly by the lower classes), and devotees believe that these performers invoke local deities into themselves with their devotion, abstinence and their dance! People believe that once God has been invoked, that deity, has the power to foretell the future, to give counsel, and to resolve minor communal disputes.
The intricacies of their costumes, their jewellery, their makeup… all hold different meanings deeply embedded in symbolism and this breathtaking world of folklore and culture is what Razia’s collection captures so beautifully!
Kanvas Kloset, another Mumbai based brand started by Komal Panchal. Since their inception a few years ago, Kanvas Kloset’s has been creating shoes that are beautiful, unique, inspired and inspiring!
Their designs are inspired by ancient art forms from all over the country… and with each collection; they manage to create something that’s wonderfully traditional and yet extremely new age!
One of my favorite collections from Kanvas was their Madhubani Oxfords and Brogues… While this pair that I’m wearing here, is a classic pair of slip-ons with hand-block printing.
Hand block printing is one of the earliest, simplest and slowest of all methods of fabric printing… and the time, effort and precision with which it is done, reflects in the sheer elegance and simplicity of the output.
Necklace: Razia Kunj
Footwear: Kanvas Kloset
Ikat handloom Maxi Dress: My Own (designed and created by Me :))
(Oh and… NO Make-up! ;))
The reason I chose to wear this dress for this post on wearable art is because Ikat, in my mind, is one of the most intricate and gorgeous weaves, which requires skill and patience that only few have.
This particular weave is a double Ikat weave, made my weavers in Andhra Pradesh’s Pochampally Village, and the colours and the feel of the fabric, make it earthy, summery and elegant!
Photography: Sonalee Das