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Marigold Diary

Experiments made her better…

If you are fashion forward you sure would have noticed Rimzim Dadu, a young Indian designer in her early thirties. She started off with her own label right after finishing a Fashion Design course from Pearl Academy, Delhi, in 2006. Her sparsely, brightly lit pale yellow basement studio is nestled in the bustling industrial Sector-2, few steps away from Sector 15 Metro Station in Noida.

Glad to have met her since she is celebrating a decade in fashion, this year. On viewing her crafty, experimental body of work one understands her statement of liking to deconstruct and reconstruct a material, bettter. Proclaiming to be known for her signature pieces, last season’s steel wire collection did well commercially.

This year too she has continued with it, wherein, hair-thin metallic yarns are painstakingly sewn together to form a metal wire sculpted dress possibly for Greek goddess Athena herself. It is 100% bedazzling super flexible metal couture.

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Refashioning the Pakistani Peshawari Chappal

Agender or gender fluid footwear or clothing have been a part of the Indian subcontinent’s culture since ancient days. In recent times, closer to home one notices the ubiquitous Kohlapuri slippers, Punjabi juttis/mojaris or now the Peshawari chappal – a worn especially by Pashtuns in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa region of Pakistan; have taken over our everyday fashion choices. Eponymous to the city of Peshawar these flip-flops were originally only worn by men, paired with their traditional pathani suit.

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In March 2014, Paul Smith a brit brand staying true to its dry sense of humour came under the scanner for selling slightly quirky Peshawaris without giving due credit to its design influence. After a change.org petition was signed by several they began selling it with a tagline “Men’s high-shine black leather sandals with neon pink trims inspired by the Peshawari chappal.”

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My colonial hangover

As promised, through the month I am going talk shop about niche brands that one needs to pick up during their summer travels. The caveat here is for clients who like ubiquitous high-street and global luxury brands …….less is more!

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I prefer small bags…..

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In the coming month I am going to try and list niche coveted brands in other countries which many of us would be visiting during our summer holidays. They’d be ‘must-haves’ if you like to keep a low profile, yet be wearing the best. Don’t waste your time if you like bling or enjoy logomania. And who better to begin with than Her Royal Highness, The Duchess of Sussex, after BOF talked about her becoming unarguably the most powerful fashion influencer in the world, by default, after marrying Harry.

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Indian jungles re-fashioned with Bengali Sholapith craft

In high summer, Edward Abbey‘s excerpt from Postcards from Ed: Dispatches and Salvos from an American Iconoclast “The weather here is windy, balmy, sometimes wet. Desert springtime, with flowers popping up all over the place, trees leafing out, streams gushing down from the mountains. Great time of year for hiking, camping, exploring, sleeping under the new moon and the old stars ” reminded the fashion aficionado in me of a subtle play with opaque and translucent fabrics. Herein, Sahil Kochhar‘s Chanderi and Organza in pristine ivory, champagne rose and cashmere blue have scalloped hems. Ethereally ornamented with silk floss embroidery they are neatly finished with a serrated edging; making way for an apparition to come alive.

His previous two seasons easily managed to transport one from the Bugyals of Uttarakhand to the exotic Jungles of India with a signature technique Shola pith craft from West Bengal  – 3D applique work.

Graduated from National Institute of Fashion Technology, New Delhi in 2006 he won the Most Creative Collection Award and the Best Academic Performance for the program, too. Thereafter at Rohit Bal‘s he assisted in designing for about 6 years. Eventually in 2013  he launched his own namesake label. Two years later, in 2015, was encouraged on receiving the Grazia Young Fashion AwardElle Graduate Award and nominated by Stardust Awards for the Best Costume Design category. This winning spree continued when the talent moved a notch higher in 2016, nominated from India for the regional round of the International Woolmark Prize 2016.

Acknowledged by the Indian fashion industry beginning this year, he was announced the winner of the AZA Fashion’s Next 2018 Business Program at the Amazon Fashion Week. It offers him the much needed mentorship in retail business for a year with immense exposure at a nascent stage of his career. Rewinding his last six years we’ve seen different appliques, fabrics, designs and thread embroideries being re-fashioned. So, I thought it best to ask Sahil few pertinent questions.

 

Anti-fashion menswear for X, Y, Zee generations

Itō, Ito, Itou, Itoh or Itoo (written: 伊藤) might be the sixth most common Japanese surname but now is the name of a Delhi based menswear label owned by Amit Babbar, which also means a yarn or thread in their lingo. Its aesthetics are an aftermath of his luxurious globetrotting trips during childhood which left an indelible mark in the cerebral cortex.

Listening to him a quote by Muhammad Ali “He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life” kept ringing in my ears. As a lad he started his design journey with a Fashion Design course from Wigan & Leigh  New Delhi. Thereafter became an entrepreneur at 21 itself. Now for nearly a decade and a half  he has been exporting to the likes of Maison de soil, Mando and United Arrows in the Japanese archipelago. 

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Escaping this summer with feminine digital prints and flirty hand-embroidery

Noticing closely I realized  how Sneha Arora a 33 yrs old Kolkata based designer was treading carefully on the middle path chosen between modernism and post-modernism. She derived pleasure from technological positivity and traditional expertise. Her fetish for both hand and powerloom textiles were cleverly juxtaposed with digital printing and hand-embroidery to avoid being too predictive. 

So we connected, as I wanted to know more about her clothing line and other things that mattered-

Her childhood memories: Was a studious kid. Had planned to sit for medical entrance, instead randomly took an entrance exam for NIFT and got through their Fashion Design program, Kolkata.

Her creative influences/memories: Through childhood she excitedly made cards on special occasions for both friends and family. Her elder sister is an interior designer.

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“Visual imagery is what I carried forward from Madura where I had designed tee shirts. Bougainvillea and Rhododendron are my favourite flowers. And the use of khadi is for its textured feel further aggrandized with thread and French Knot embroidery.”

– Sneha Arora

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Artist feels oppressed by the pin which keeps her safety intact

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“We were sensitized in NID before going out to do projects with the craft clusters. As a student one had to stay in their environment to understand their rudimentary means. It was basically about learning their skillset while humbly playing the role of an intermediary, not god or master” quips the Hyderabad based artist – Shaila Nambiar. Having done Fine Arts from MSU Baroda in 1996, she later also got a degree in Textile Designing from NID, in 2003.

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Wearing the mundane as quirky miniatures

The mountains are calling and I must go… for their flora and fauna, clear skies and the relaxed light air sans any pollution – my sanity depends on it! It struck me when I came across LAÏTEworks (spelt as light-works) by Saurabh Banka. Couldn’t stop admiring his quirky embroidered miniatures of the mundane strewn on stoles, shirts and pouches projecting a nonchalant playful attitude. 

His

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Bankas’s design background: I graduated from NIFT, New Delhi in 2007. And started working with Rajesh Pratap Singh. In 2008, I moved to Paris and studied Masters in Fashion Design from IFM (Institut Français de la Mode). Following that, I took up a job as an Embroidery Designer for a French label Rue du Mail by Martine Sitbon. And in 2016, I moved to India to start my own brand LAÏTEworks.

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