Though Dickensian in popular culture, larks are passerine birds found in Australia. However, should you consider this a nondescript description of a perfectly lively next-door neighbour, brought to life by Pushpak Vimaan’s Padosan collection, hold on.
We liken this colourful, vivacious, dramatic full-frilled neighbour to a group of larks. They’re known as many things but our favourite collective nouns for them are ‘a chattering’, ‘an exaltation’, ‘happiness’ and ‘a springful of larks’.
Padosan is Pushpak Vimaan’s foray into colourful, vivid storytelling. 100% cotton, mul-mul frills, flamboyant flares and cuts. What larks!
adjective / lamb(ə)nt/ of light or fire, glowing, gleaming, or flickering with a soft radiance
Is that you?
The intricate hand embroidery on this youthful, zesty collection lights it’s own spark. The gorgeous flares, the impressive back details and the colour palette brighten up a room.
The unbeknownst life of her lambent light proved happiness over and over again.
Us. Most days.
You must spirit a kittenish quality to carry on the weight of everyday with an uncommon light-heartedness. At the risk of over-defining, the Straight Up dress by Pushpak Vimaan looms large on our mind.
Flirt if you must, with your rogue-like impishness but do it in the thigh-high slit pencil skirt in a sprightly yellow. Ensure sufficient breeze for the turn on the frill.
nee Flower Child/Wild Child/Free Spirit
‘A shape in a drape’ was beatnik speak for a well-dressed person. So was ‘everything plus’. She wasn’t just a shape in a drape, she was everything plus. And in Pushpak Vimaan’s Jump in Pink, wouldn’t anyone be?
adjective /ɪˈbʌljənt,ɪˈbʊljənt/ cheerful and full of energy
The Padosan Collection was designed for the world to rediscover itself with a child-like sense of wonder. The world needs more magic. The collection is a creation of airy confections, East meets West, traditional and contemporary, fantasy and reality.
A descriptive, energetic story slows down fashion, warms up hearts and begins relationships.
Vegetable dye, androgynous style and the union of khadi-linen
Inspiration for design often settles into the quietest of corners. On a sultry day, unusual for Winter, a desire took shape. They felt the need to make more than a statement.
The result was deconstruction, purpose and form.
In an evolving series of telling stories of each product, we introduce you to the mood, concept and character of designs by Chambray & Co.
1. Khadi-Linen for Winter’s Summer
Chambray & Co allow their styles to breathe in the delicate cross-weave of khadi-linen. Handspun khadi is given life with the sheen and structure of flax-plant linen.
The ethereal result is a season-defying fabric that keeps you cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Designers at Chambray & Co. articulate the need for fabric that empowers the woman wearing it.
Weavers in West Bengal are fanned with the deepest understanding of the wearer in the hope that the fabric’s journey begins a quiet, meaningful relationship.
2. Androgynous Dressing
Androgyny is an art form. Chambray & Co. translate it to fit their design ethic. In true modern realism, they believe in the need for comfort, style and power to play synonymously.
Overlapping layers, statement sleeves, deep pocket details compliment a comfortable outer silhouette. They dress the woman keeping the needs of a man in mind. The two have never lived separate lives and this deep understanding forms the structure of every ensemble designed.
3. The Beauty of Vegetable Dyes
Vegetable dyes are made from roots, berries, bark, leaves and wood. The brilliant permanence of colour sourced naturally, from plants, was previously a by-product of a simple life.
It has evolved today to a conscious effort at remaining as close to pure as we can. Chambray & Co. use vegetable dyes to achieve neutral tones of khaki, maroon and navy-blue, emphasizing the objectivity of the wearer. The hand-dyeing is done by artisans in Gujarat, prior to meeting the cut of a story, carefully told.
Between 2000 and 2014, the manufacturing of clothes doubled, the number of collections produced by brands rose from 2 to 11-15 per year, the amount consumers purchased increased by 60%, prices fell drastically, fashion went from being nowhere on the list to the second most polluting industry (losing first place only to the oil industry). Since the 1990s, clothing prices in the U.S has risen only by 10% whereas food pricing has increased by 80%. H&M, Zara, Forever 21, Topshop and more tempted the fashion food-chain with micro-seasons at no added cost. With consumers accustomed to the cheap pricing, retailers began to pass on the cost down the manufacturing lifecycle. This meant cutting corners with the garment manufacturing factories in the developing world. Fierce competition means garment factory owners in Bangladesh, Vietnam and Cambodia agree to rock-bottom pricing and unrealistic timelines to sustain their businesses, fueling the cheaper, faster, greedier fashion industry. What does this mean?
We are at the receiving end of the privileges. We can wear and afford a new dress every, single day. We can get rid of clothes just as easily, most often because they don’t last. Unwittingly perhaps, we silently overload the pressure on the fashion industry to keep up with the demons (in us) that the industry itself (unwittingly) created. You told me I could get $10 jeans at any point, Zara. And you told me I would get a new style every week. Now I’d like to throw it away and buy another 10, just in case. I’d like to keep this up please. No problem, but here’s what’s about to happen. The Rana Plaza Disaster 2013 in Bangladesh. What? People actually die for my $2 t-shirt? No. Way. And the pollution? Get. Out.
Okay, so what is slow fashion?
We took the above equation and added the two missing variables to it: People & Planet. Someone pays the price for that $2 shirt, even if we don’t. A mother who lives miles away from her children, a husband who lost his wife and children in the Rana Plaza Disaster, the Citarum River in Indonesia (lead, mercury and arsenic are dumped into the river by textile dyeing factories, affecting 5 million lives). The people that make your clothes matter. The planet you live in, matters. There is no laborious derivation to the concept of slow fashion. It simply means, slow down.
Today’s fashion is an assembly-lined order executing ‘runway to retail’ at neck-breaking speed. Consumerism is at it’s poisonous peak. Trends are masks that lure you into dark alleyways and convert you into a mechanic thrift-shopper. But there are two price tags. The cheap one that you see and the heartbreaking expensive one that you do not. Slow fashion attempts to show you both, so that you may finally make an educated, transparent choice when you shop. We need to see the bigger picture. Natural fabrics (wool, cotton, silk) go back to where it came from – the earth. And still, even an eco-friendly t-shirt will use 5000 litres of water to produce. Synthetic fabrics need about 70 million gallons of oil to produce, each year. It’s not ‘just a t-shirt’ anymore, is it?
By slowing down consumerism, opting for the good quality, everlasting t-shirt as opposed to the disposable one, we will already have made a difference to how the $3 trillion industry (that is currently more than the GDP of the UK) works. By slowing down fashion, we may actually begin to notice culture, relationships, diversity and human needs. Fashion is an intrinsic part of who we are. If so, we should know more about it. We should know it’s story. We should know who made our clothes, where our fabric came from, who thought of the design, who actually manufactured it, how many people your purchase helped employ, which country inspired the idea behind the design, how far it travelled to reach you. It is the most easily actionable move that you can make, as a statement and movement. It is most easily, the most everlasting trend the industry will ever know. You will be grateful to yourself for having begun it.
Of course, we are not blind to the allusion of price. Slower, better quality clothing seems more expensive. But did you know that the average U.S. citizen spent 13% of their income on clothing in 1945, 7% in 1970 and just 3% in 2012. In this same period of time, their purchases have increased by 60%. Is the question affordability or affording more than I realistically can?
Slow fashion is a community. It means knowing before we act; Being conscientious and aware. Fashion reveals our personality. I’m certain our personalities are not skin deep. If we knew what we were promoting, we would be in love with our clothes. We could promote lost cultures, empowered generations, talented designers and an industry that has given us stereotype-breaking styles over decades. So if you looked really carefully, the one to blame isn’t really H&M, Zara, Topshop or Primark. It’s us. Luckily, we can change that.
What are we doing about it?
IKKIVI began quite simply as a platform to promote and support emerging designers who paid homage both to their roots and the global world. Over our time here, we have gradually begun to question the design process. We seek the stories behind the products, the journeys of the designers, we ask who made the clothes and where the fabric came from. We are a work in progress and that is progress enough. We cannot reinvent the wheel overnight. But we simply cannot sleep through it all. The fashion industry employes 60 million people directly and indirectly, in India alone. For most of them, ‘ethical’ is luxury. Sustenance, family, livelihood is everything. A recent study indicated that majority of Indian farmers committing suicides are the ones growing cotton, falling prey to unrealistic demand promises and price competition. The other side of the same coin, is that India and the Far East, though still developing, are the seats of natural fabric, design and heritage for over 2000 years. We need not be synonymous with ‘cheap’.
It’s a lot to take in. We have begun by ensuring that we complete a design journey as true companions of the every element of the process. We would like you to know what you are paying for and who are you paying. In the end, it will always be worth your time to simply ask #whomademyclothes.
April 24-30th 2017 is Fashion Revolution Week in reverence to the 1,129 garment workers who lost their lives in the Rana Plaza Disaster in 2013.
Often considered the ‘Frida Kahlo’ of India, Amrita Sher-Gil gives us the neurotic satiation that we need, to remind ourselves of the brilliance of our minds. Born to Sikh and Hungarian-Jewish parents, Amrita is considered the most important woman painter in Indian history. She grew up in Budapest and Shimla, performing piano concerts and acting in plays. She then sailed with her mother to Florence and Paris, subjecting herself to the authority of European artists. Her time in Europe left her with an intense desire to return to India. ‘India belongs only to me’, she said. It was here, that her critical works of art rose to fame. Her lustful relationships with both men and women became the subject of her paintings, now hanging at National Gallery of Modern Art, Delhi. Her obsession with the tradition of Indian art, the culture of women and the rhythms of village lives became the standard for many artists to follow. She died aged 28.
American feminist artist, Judy Chicago forces us all to lead thinking lives. She coined the term ‘feminist art’ in the 1970s to define her work exploring the role of women in culture and history. She began the first Feminist Arts Program in Fresno State College and strongly believed that women who were ignorant of women’s history would continue to struggle. Her work including the famous ‘The Dinner Party‘ & ‘The Birth Project‘ commemorate women activists, martyrs, goddesses and women as mothers. Her emphasis on women and their many roles heralded the ‘Feminist Art Movement’ in the 70s.
No one has more sensitively told the stories of drug-addicts, dancers, lovers and activists. Her elements trilogy films threatened to unearth the farcical progress of social reform in India. In Water, she examines Gandhi’s India and the struggle of a child-widow unwittingly made to endure the rules of the Holy Hindu Scriptures. Despite death threats and burnt sets, Mehta produced and delivered the film to critical acclaim. Though one might argue that her singular, romanticized view of post-Colonial India does little to salvage it of its years of disarray, her storytelling subject has never been comforting en-masse.
“You’ve got to invest in the world, you’ve got to read, you’ve got to go to art galleries, you’ve got to find out the names of plants. You’ve got to start to love the world and know about the whole genius of the human race. We’re amazing people.”
Credited with pioneering the punk-style movement, Westwood is the hard-hitting, bright-haired anti-system woman we all need to be at times. “I was messianic about punk, seeing if one could put a spoke in the wheel in some way.”
Rei never studied fashion. And still, she is the most influential fashion designer in Japan and the world. She entered the fashion industry by taking a job at a textile company. Within a few short years, she established Commes Des Garçons, her label. By the time she debuted in Paris, she had begun the Japanese Fashion Revolution. Her anti-fashion style, dark colours, and arresting personality would begin the movement of intellectual style that would have the world in her thralls.
Dayanita Singh began her career as a photographer at a Zakir Hussain concert. He noticed her being roughly handled by his security personnel and asked for her to be allowed to do as she pleases. By following and photographing him on tour for six years, she created her first photo album ‘Zakir Hussain’. Influenced by Italo Calvino and Gustav Mahler, she advises to think and feel outside of photography. Then we will have something to bring to our pictures.
Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta (Lady Gaga):
To think of Lady Gaga’s experimentation with style, music, form and personality as simply incidental to the function of her industry, is an enormous discredit. Lady Gaga has given us songs on sex, religion, politics, sexuality and individualism. Movements have sought her words to charge the bass with the beat of our hearts. She is the Monster Mother of the fashion, music, and movement industry. And we are her little monsters.
‘I don’t claim that it’s easy. I do not have the answers. I am by nature not a political person and these are the darkest political times I have ever known. My business, such as it is, concerns the intimate lives of people. The people who ask me about the “failure of multiculturalism” mean to suggest that not only has a political ideology failed but that human beings themselves have changed and are now fundamentally incapable of living peacefully together despite their many differences.’
The accidental champion of multicultural homogeneity forces upon us, thoughts, nostalgic roots and ideas of change.
“I paint flowers so they will not die”
Frida was the tempestuous artist that rose to recognition for her beauty, her art, her questions, her affairs and her disregard for society. Her naiveté and intense fascination dominated her ‘surrealism’ art that she was perhaps entirely unaware of. Her eccentricity and posthumous recognition reflect on her aberrant portrayal of self, tragedy, and actualization.
Emma Watson has joined the bandwagon, recently. With her instagram handle @the_press_tour dedicated to eco-friendly, non-animal, non-leather clothing and accessories, the movement is gaining steam. Emma Roberts recycled Giorgio Armani’s 2005 vintage couture dress from the archives. Reason: Red Carpet Green Dress Challenge. Sustainable, upcycled, productive, positive fashion. Though a complete overhaul of fashion’s green-o-meter is still a’comin’, these are the top 4 changes we’re happy to call out:
More not many: Fashion across the street is changing the way it models it’s offering. New styles are making way for renewed styles. In February, H&M’s new arrivals were down by 36%, as replenished stock continue to increase. Same styles, repeated per demand, reducing the pressure on supply channels, and ultimately the environment – fashion is the second most polluting industry, after only oil.
Sustainable lines: As customers demand transparency, stories and emotional equations with their clothing, fast-fashion houses have begun to realign themselves to the changing times. Zara’s Join Life and H&M’s Conscious Collection offer carefully sourced, ‘more ethical’ products to customers who have traveled, seen it all and deserve change. Though they arrive late to the game, independent companies (such as us) are happy to share the stage with the fashion giants, together for the right movement.
Independent designers: ‘Seasonless merchandising‘ has allowed for independent designers to crop up around the world. In lieu of the saturation of fast-fashion deflationary pricing (and therefore ‘safe’ styles), bold young designers are designing risque ensembles for an increasingly educated consumer group. The advent of online platforms has allowed for independent designers to showcase their talent directly to an excited, global audience.
Stories: As we search for, communicate with, form relationships with and source designers who weave tireless stories, we are indebted to their journey. The stories of each designer, the inspiration behind the design, the idea for the fabric and the influence of ideas form each intricate product that is carefully curated. Increasingly, as customers seek association with their outfits, designers are allowed a voice. Stories and content form the basis of the selling relationship that retailers develop with their customers. At least we do, with every single sale.
It was inevitable from the start. The sale that digested us back to hunger at the turn of every corner. The balloon-eyed realization that you can have what he and she has, in every colour and size. It matters little that you only wear it once. It matters little wear it came from. It doesn’t cost you much. Like everything else. Food, throwaway necessities, clean air, water, calm thoughts, real dreams. But that $2.99 cold-shoulder jersey top comes with the steepest hidden price tag, don’t you think? Or perhaps I’m just throwing bromides out into the Universe. Let me weigh this out, for you and me.
1. Someone pays for it
Lost worker at the Rana Plaza Disaster
2. No matter which industry
Polluted beach in Dar-es-salaam, Tanzania
3. If we paused, we could…
Enjoy the simple pleasures
4. Like these guys
5. But then, no…
Black Friday, U.S.A.
6. But why?
Slow fashion = fewer, rare collections, timeless in their styles
7. So why not.
Isn’t there more to us?
Be the change. Join the slow fashion movement. We’re a happy family.. We love good thoughts. We love telling stories of why and where we found our clothes. We love our clothes. They’ll wait out the 30-year fashion cycle and come back into style.