A sustainable revolution started by globally renowned Rina Singh, resonates pastoral pleasures, a lilting vreeze or the warmth of a lifelong friend. This spirit takes shape in soulful clothing that lives on through individual expression. At Eka, they make their own textiles, favouring the mechanics and raw beauty of natural fibers. Eka in Sanskrit, means ‘one’ and echoes the singular effort of many individuals. The designers tells us her story and deconstructs her new collection.
How would you summarize your journey of eight years in fashion?
I think its been fun. I started out really small, taking each step at a time and only believing in myself. I really didn't do any study or projection about the line that I wanted to launch. It just felt like something that I wanted to do and i felt it was not available in the market. A subtle everyday easy sensibility clothing. And also over time I realised that It was the need off the hour. Every one talks of sustainable/eco fashion. Every one likes to wear indigenous fashion labels and more individualistic sensibility.
I've been lucky to find the right opportunities at the right time, I had been wise to take my time absorbing the big world of fashion in India and abroad and finding my own way. I had been cautious of not letting myself being carried away and serving trends and altering the personality of the brand.
So I would say its been a learning, a very rich experience and certainly a lot of fun.
Do you think your craft has evolved over time?
I am still learning each season. Though in terms of evolving the design direction, I think editing is the most important and yet least explored tool. which I have learned to utilise well. I work with the international market and launch my seasons ahead of time to book orders for next season, and after that its launched in the Indian market at the fashion show and closer to the retail launches.
I've learnt to differentiate between the two markets and cater to each separately in terms of retail timelines, and marketing. By the time I finish a season and am ready to dip into designing the next I sometimes do get carried away and want to explore a fresh palette try new colors/patterns/textures/textiles etc. Its the food that fuels design freshness. I do realise that sometimes I should exercise more restraint and hold the range tightly initially rather then savagely editing later but as I said I am still learning and enjoying the developments each day. So yes, the craft evolves each season.
Has it been challenging to support a sustainable fashion label?
Extremely, new shapes call for new fibres and fabrics. After all we are a fashion brand. Even though we support sustainability as a direction for the design philosophy. Sometimes natural fibres pose a huge challenge in terms of exploring new silhouettes and shapes & finishes. But every time I've even faintly tried to explore other fabrics, I've been put off eventually and figured its not my hand writing. So I put my energies back into recreating and exploring new realms within our own design dimensions.
In terms of logistics we are still dealing with a small scale industry set up so we work backwards in terms of setting the timelines. Weather, social and economical environment everything affects the deliverables. We don't work with financially secured big mills to be sure of delivery and payments. Working with the crafts people and small industries poses the challenge to understand their infrastructure and logistics and work around it.
We work directly with the craft groups that we are committed with. We work with only 100% NATURAL FIBRES, we work with minimum industrial waste. We work with the notion of building livelihoods and sustaining small scale craft groups and independent value chain and provide continued support - financial and logistics., we work though a system of advances and exercise our own quality control for maintaining high level of produce.
We work with indigenous crafts as a part of our design philosophy, we work with block printed textiles that are developed and printed within the studio. We work through a well established ethical chain of sourcing our raw materials, we work with the highest value of quality that hand made processes can deliver.
What was the insipiration behind your new collection?
There is a ‘non finito’ aesthetic in the art world; works left incomplete by their makers, where the process of creation is a part of the final work, as well as works, when the artists want to leave it as is. This point of view became the source of ideation for Autumn Winter 17 collection. Inspired by old discarded sketchbooks and undone artworks, my theme embraces unfinished techniques to create a patchwork of artisanal aged textiles, as an essence of nostalgia adds a romantic touch to the contemporary, modern collections. I explored works of Paul Cezanne and Pablo Picasso that led me to find my muse in Amrita Sher-Gill, an eminent painter, who is considered the pioneer of Modern art in India, from the times of Matisse, Picasso and Frida Kahlo. I capture her essence as a female artist of today’s time—she renders a beautiful character of a bohemian traveller, explorer, fashion icon, and individualistic, and compassionate artist who carried India in her heart and on her sleeve, yet felt equally at home on the streets of Paris.
What according to you is the next big thing is fashion?
I think sustainability will still continue to drive the fashion statements. More and more labels will become conscious of their produce and water. Will deploy more ethical practises to produce and procure. Core design philosophies and cross cultural references will drive design theories.Fashion will be more inclusive of varied ethinicities, shapes and mindful consumption.
Text Platform Desk