‘Iki’ an expression of simplicity, sophistication, spontaneity, and originality

Since our hills are saturated with holidayers I’ve decided to look at other cities during the rains e.g. Ahemdabad – the Design Capital of India, to reexplore its heady mix of traditional and contemporary arts which has evolved with time. Staring at the blinding sun reflecting on the green leaves outside my window, processing my thoughts, I began planning my trip to Gujarat. First spoke to Kripa regarding his homographically ‘inde’ label which has seemingly adapted the SS19 international trend of plaid, stripes and motifs.

He grew up spending lots of time at his family’s Indian textiles and saree shop. Later pursued it with a textile design course. Has worked on home furnishings to womenswear at brands like ‘W’ and Arvind Mills developing jacquards, prints and woven fabrics for domestic and international clients. But at some point was disillusioned, due to the dismal presence of indigenous textiles in our market, which has adversely affected the lives of our artisans’. After marrying Poonam who came from a marketing and finance background, the couple realized their love for fashion and Indian textiles and joined NIFT Gandhinagar to better their creative skillsets.

Hence two years later, in February 2017 KARNAM was officially launched, built on the principles of social and environmental responsibility through uncompromising sustainability and ‘Made in India’ voguish designs.

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MD: What keeps you creatively busy?

Kripa: I de-stress by taking pictures of nature and cooking traditional Indian food. Also  love admiring artists like ‘Gustav Klimt’ an Austrian symbolist, and ‘Vincent Van Gogh’ a Dutch post-impressionist. By default, one would many a time find me sketching and doodling patterns. 
MD: What is the ethos of your label?
Kripa: It’s been 2.5 years now….we’ve enjoyed experimenting with the woven techniques of India. Every time we like to make a new fabric with an experimental technique and design. This season we’ve explored Gujarat for their extra weft and West Bengal for Jamdani. Basically its the interlacing of TANA -BANA that fascinates us.
MD: What are the key elements of your SS19 collection?
Kripa: We have used Tencel and organic cottons, while merging plaids, stripes and butas in handlooms. Our collection is all about comfort with special attention given to avoid fabric waste. Even the smallest cut pieces have been used to create new garments.

MD: What or who inspired you for SS19? 

Kripa: I was searching for books regarding different cultures and heritage of the world. And found one called *Reflections On Japanese Taste: The Structure of IKI by Kuki ShuzoIt interestingly interprets how simplicity, sophistication and originality can go together. Our idea was to create a look for SS19 which matches that exactly. The colours and mixing of minimalist patterns are inspired from ‘Iki’ and converted into textile with the help of our artisans. 

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“Iki” is a Japanese aesthetic sense (aesthetic concept), which was born in Edo period. The word “iki” began to be used to express Tatsumi geisha professional female entertainers, who were particularly popular in Fukagawa in Edo (present-day Fukagawa, Tokyo) around the Edo period, 1603-1868. Is defined as being refined in dress and manners, and is considered good-looking. It also means “being humane, knowing how to have a good time, etc.” as cited on nomurakakejiku.com
*The first English translation of a remarkable book on modern aesthetics that clarifies a distinctively plebeian Japanese sensibility based on a unique category of taste, iki. The work anticipates directions in postwar thought, structuralism in particular, through its opposition of high and low culture. The only version of Kuki’s text – including those in Japanese – to provide full interpretive notes (many based on Kuki’s own sources and manuscripts), this book is essential reading for studies in Japanese culture.

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