Archive for November, 2010

Streets on the runway

November 26, 2010

Most of collections that go on Indian runways during fashion weeks never(?) make it to the streets(at least not in my documentation/if it has happened before let me know)…so it was nice to see the process being reversed during Paromita’s show and streets going up on the runway first. Maybe the runway will follow someday?

Her clothes are inspired by bartan walis, dhobis, & rickshaw walas. She likes the initial chaos of creating…prefers rustic elegance to glamorous fashion…likes to mix elements from different cultures in her designs. She photographs bicycles and her own collections..has done about 5 fashion weeks..and all this started off when she was only looking around. I also quite like the last line of her description for her SS’10 collection – “don’t miss the rooster.”

Paromita Banerjee, 27. Fashion designer.

Childhood.
I was born and brought up in a part of Kolkata which was surrounded by old architecture, small lanes and by-lanes, that eventually grew into my being and left a lasting impression. I was a shy kid and my parents made sure that I never missed having a sibling around. I travelled a lot around the country with my parents. I was, and still am, a voracious reader; painting was a hobby and I remember being enrolled in “art classes” which later gave way to my career.

You joined NID to study textile design. How did you end up designing clothes?
At NID, studying textile design was more of an offshoot thing that I could directly correlate to my painting classes. During the course I could not see myself doing just textiles. I felt my knowledge had to be used to create something more tangible that I could relate to- like creating garments.

My first internship and final graduation project was with Ashish Soni – whose style I absolutely love. While working there I realised my own potential for creating designs and starting my own label. Nothing seemed impossible and the fact that one must have years and oodles of job-experience is slightly exaggerated.

I think it was also my want to reach out to a wider audience and the thrill to see somebody wearing my creations and walking right past me. Now, when that happens, it’s an amazing feeling.

At Konstfack, Stockholm.
I was granted a three and half month scholarship at the Konstfack University of Art and Culture. I attended half a semester of the textile design courses offered there. Amongst many things, I learnt different methods of printing which is quite a variation from what we study in India. There was a module for studying clothing and dressing styles of the costumes of the Royal Opera Theatre, Stockholm. I was also taught machine knitting which I thoroughly enjoyed.

You’d mentioned you draw inspiration from the feel of handloom fabrics and your garments emphasize the feel of the “hand-made.” What is the process like? And once you get inspired what actually takes place in terms of turning that idea in to clothes?
The fabrics are usually hand-made or hand-woven on the looms which also make each fabric yardage unique- as the imperfections in the nature of the cloth, while being woven, are the true essence and character of it. I start my designing process with a visual reference comprising mostly of images that I have seen around me or of what I would have photographed sometime over the years. I couple this visual reference with a bit of research work, so that I am ready to start a collection. I also follow up on the various clothing styles and cultures of different geographical regions. I try and reflect this in my work.

..similar to your summer/resort 2010 collection?
Yes, I was greatly inspired by the Bengali “laal-paar” sari that has a traditional red hand-woven border with a “Temple” / triangular motif on an off-white cotton base. It is an intrinsic part of every Bengali ritual and festival. I also worked upon other hand-woven fabrics like muslin and kota, and coupled them with chintz prints. The fabrics were sourced from the hand- weaving clusters around West Bengal. I had named it “The Laal-Paar and Other Stories.”

Do you think participating in fashion weeks is necessary?
Yes, initially to get the world to notice you, it absolutely is. Whether you like it or not, a fashion week has a wider reach in this age of information and technology. Even before the lights go dim at the end of a show, the ramp pictures have already been circulated. Which designer would not want this kind of publicity? Having said that, on the flip side, if one is confident of selling designs, and if he knows his client base and market, one can do so, then a fashion week might not seem important. Although the initial road-map is clearer after a couple of seasons of participation at fashion weeks.

How many Fashion weeks have you done so far?
..four consecutive seasons at the LFW, Mumbai. I was also the sole designer representing India in Shanghai last month, at the Shanghai chapter of the World Fashion Organisation under the United Nations. There were designers representing each of the five continents.

Your first show and inspirations.
My first show at the Lakmé Fashion Week for Gen-next collection was in March 2009. We had an option of creating 8-10 looks for a fall/winter line. The selection process was intense as there were many other applicants. I had sent a single ensemble (which till date remains one of my best selling pieces) in double layered Khadi with stark leaf motifs embroidered along the hem. I teamed it with another double layered shawl drape which was also hand-woven and with a placement embroidery detail. It got selected and finally I built up on it by working out looks inspired by what I saw on the streets – style of the lady who sells utensils on the road, the checkered “lungi” that a cycle rickshaw driver wears, the dhoti drape of a dhobi. It might sound bizarre, but these are the real torch-bearers of “fashion”. They are creating “looks” out of the only pieces of clothing they own, that too, with such a strong identity. With all these looks in mind, I designed the collection and once the music (I select my music- mostly folkloric and world fusion genres) and make-up was decided, I was geared up for my very first show.

I’ve  noticed a lot of students do well in their class curriculum but don’t achieve all that much in their final design collection. What do you think goes wrong?
I think they end up trying too hard to put in all that they have learned in that one single collection. At the end of it, it is very essential to understand the kind of clothes one would want to make, the context in which one would want to place his/her collection, and finally to understand the market which he/she would initially want to cater to. Perhaps, one can disagree with me, since it is not possible to understand/ judge all this while at the beginners’ stage, but to me, a reality check right at the beginning always means you will go a long way.

Any dos and don’ts for the first timers at fashion weeks?
Don’t underestimate or overestimate the media.
Don’t try to ape anybody else’s look or idea if it does not suit your brand or identity. It would look hideous.
A fashion week would be back 6 months later, so do not be greedy and try to show all your ideas all at once. It would be a huge mess.

Try to finish garments way before time to check for finishing, etc. The last sore thumb is bad finishing at a prestigious fashion week.
Be confident and brave if you are taking risks with any particular collection or “look.” Risks are a part of our line of work.
Finally, do believe in your instincts. It always works.

Winter/Festive 2010 collection and inspirations.
Based on the references from cultural styles that I have grown to like over the years..I’ve added a stronger statement with the head-wrap along with colour blocks, which somehow had something very Japanese about them. I am hugely inspired by the costumes and attire of people in different regions and more often than not, they are the locals from the various ethnic groups all over the world. They are the ones with the strongest impression and essence on who they are or where they have originally come from. While the whole world is out to get “modernized” these are the cultural groups that have tried to stay grounded.

This was a collection with ethnic-contemporary influences. The look was based on a collection of stories from a mix of old-Gharana-style shawl drapes to Mughal-style angarkha wraps to the kimono-inspired shift dresses in Khadi. The fabrics were mostly hand woven in the form of Khadi, Matka and Tussar from Bengal, Handloom Mangalagiri cotton from Andhra Pradesh, to discharge printed silks. The embroidery motifs were borrowed from the Mughal “patka” with modifications of the leaf from the “pichvai” /temple hanging cloth.

In the first story, the silhouettes were colour-blocked black & white with a stark red accent based on a look in Khadi with the garments being a cultural mix of influences from the Kosode: the short-sleeved kimono, to the Mughal jama and angarakhas, both essentially being men’s style of clothing.
Resist dyeing was used in the indigo-white story, again in Khadi, hand-woven on shift dresses and bolero wraps.
In the third, darker hues of rust, fuchsia, greens to greys, and yellows were used + lots of layering in the form of panelled kurtas and lehenga skirts with waist-coats.

Update: I usually make the shoes with fabric scraps left-overs after each collection. So one would find all these handlooms, chintz, textures, embroidery left-overs/gone-bad pieces, transforming into shoes. Due to public demand, I intend to manufacture them for the roads as well since right now they all have printed fabric soles.

How important is it for you to have a celebrity wear one of your designs from a business point of view?
Frankly its a huge validation if a celebrity does wear one’s designs. It is equivalent to instant publicity since the “aam-janta” can relate to them (I wonder how), which might have otherwise taken months to achieve through the usual processes of brand building.  But to be honest, I’m more for making clothes which appeal to my sense of aesthetics or  the mood and direction that I want to take in a particular collection; I really don’t care whether any celebrity would like to endorse my clothes or not.

Do you see yourself having a “bollywood show stopper” someday?
No! Never! At this point of time, I’m absolutely against the idea because I feel it is the clothes that draw the “real” audience to the shows and not the show-stoppers. As designers we can be called upon to be fashion ‘trend-setters’ for the next season, and in no way would I want that to be diluted by the presence of a celebrity show-stopper walking the ramp during my ramp shows. I feel my clothes by themselves have the right to make their presence felt, without an added celebrity “stopping” my “show!” I am confident enough to make a collection speak for itself with the right kind of styling/look/feel, without someone else doing it for me. I still do not understand the big-deal about star -gazing. Nevertheless, the celebrities are more than welcome to attend my shows if they can relate to my work, and i would of course design for them if they like.

Do you think that our obsession with beauty and celebrities might change?
No it might not. In fact it will increase over time. We all talk about words like “inner beauty,” beauty in the eyes of the beholder and all of that, but at the end of the day we still go in for a fair-handsome groom or vice-versa! On a not so serious note, the number of fairness products that have flooded the market, leaves one wanting to be on the “fair” side of it all! We like our celebrities to be well – turned out. We gossip over the fact that we’ve seen one of them repeating the same outfits on more than one occasion, we snigger over the fact that one of them has apparently put on weight…and blah blah. Now, can we stop obsessing about these? Not all of us can; after all we all need a diversion from our mundane existences (or something like that )perhaps.

Available at: Ensemble, Zoya, Aza in Mumbai, Collage in Chennai, Taamara and Anonym in Hyderabad, Sade in Pune, Nautanky in Ahmedabad,  Ensemble in Delhi. Price range from Rs 4,200 to 16,000.

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Lookbook:Bungalow 8 A/W ’10 – the preparation

November 21, 2010

Last month I shot the A/W lookbook for Bungalow 8. This post contains: an interview with the designer Mathieu G + all that we did before the shoot – ideating over emails, location scouting, layouting + a preview.


Mathieu Gugumus-Leguillon, 32. Designer at Bungalow 8

Childhood and growing up
I had a whimsically happy childhood that was spent growing up in the country side in Normandy, France. I loved to dress up as various characters – from historical figures like Louis XIV to some obscure dancer. It was a way of dreaming for me, based on what I was experiencing at that time -a creative outlet to escape the monotony of my environment – which was a very grey, boring country side.

What I wanted to be as a kid, changed a 1000 times. One of my most recurrent dreams was to become a gardener – to grow all the vegetables of the world.

My mother and my grandmother were always supplying me with costumes and garments that they would actually make. After my grand mother expired, it all stopped..so I started to do it myself. And by the time I turned 15, I realized I was really good at cutting clothes. At that time I was thinking more about doing theater costumes because many of my classmates were in to theater and I was somehow drawn to it. My first  job was to do some costumes for my friends’ dance shows and performances.

*The first bit reminds me of this film that I watched a few years ago – Ma vie en rose*

Lanvin and YSL
At Lanvin, I  was a part of Alber Elbaz’s team & worked in the women’s wear design department.  At YSL, I was in the product design/merchandising team. It was all great, I learned a lot…but I left so I could evolve on my own.

Work process and inspirations
My work starts with the body and its geometry. I believe more in shape and cuts than decoration. Working with very detailed, refined techniques and tricks allow me to incorporate comfort in the designs and then it goes beyond geometry..it becomes about understanding how the body moves.
I never really start with a theme, but more with moods. The sense of the collection usually appears to me at the end of the process- like an invisible thread that suddenly surfaces.

I let my daily inspirations express themselves..from what life brings to me, the women and men I meet, to the places I visit. I feel the constant need to evolve in diverse atmospheres, and that is the best way for me to stay curious, and therefore creative.

How is Bombay street fashion different from Paris’?
In sense of style & color I feel Bombay is more creative. It is going out of its codes and is more experimental, while Paris goes more and more uniform.

Relationship with India
For me this is a place where I am constantly evolving as an individual..and also from a business point of view. I think, today, India is growing in a manner that it appeals to a more contemporary way of life while keeping its identity intact. I have been in India for two years…traveled to Delhi, Rajasthan, Goa, and Pondicherry.. so far my most favorite part has been South India because of its relaxed and resorty mood. I don’t know much Hindi unfortunately, but a sentence I like and can say is: Mai sabse gora hoon is gaon ka(I’m the whitest guy of this village).

Read a two year old article on Mathieu’s association with Bungalow 8 here.

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Preeti is wearing clothes from the collection. Even though this ensemble does not feature in the final selection the way it is here..but well..I like it.

With the last photo being our rough reference, we ended the day deciding we’ll shoot indoors.


Preeti’s top is from – ? (not from Bungalow8)

But things changed – like they always do – as we exchanged more ideas and emails. Finally these images taken from Nidhi’s blog became our references for the shoot.

More trial shots. This, I think, is the bedroom lit by the 4p.m. light at Maithili’s house. The first two shots are supposed to be the opening and closing pages of the book, followed by roughly how each layout would look + photos of elements taken from the room.

Read more about Maithili & Bungalow 8 here and here.

Nidhi’s polka jacket is from the rack on Hill road, Grey t-shirt is from an export surplus store in Pune, satin pants from Forever New, and brogues from a leather export surplus store in Chennai.

Read more about Nidhi here.

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A quick preview of the collection.

Autumn is already over. I hope to put rest of the photos up before the winter ends.

Be like Betty

November 21, 2010

Shweta Sharma, winner of Betty of Elle contest. 

Jacket – Reiss
Top- Mango
Skirt – H&M
Bag – Mango

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Shweta is a NIFT graduate, works as a fashion stylist, and has been on this blog before – here.

Ashika Pratt

November 18, 2010

Ashika Pratt, 20. Fashion Model.
Is half Indian. Was spotted on the street by a scout in New Zealand. Her first job was a TVC for Glassons. Likes to run. Thinks understated is always better. Has tripped on the ramp, been caught in a long dress, and struggled in stilettos..thinks worst chore to do is hanging up clothes after washing and wants to invent a washing machine that also hangs up washed clothes..is scared of big dogs and her cooking specialty is cup noodles.

Jacket – Dotti, New Zealand
Dress – Glassons

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Ashika for Nandita Hirani(above) and Rajat K Tangri(below) at Lakme Fashion Week.


Neil Dantas and other stories

November 14, 2010

As a kid, Neil Dantas would paint his 220 square feet home with crayons. Ten years later he moved on to painting RIP crosses for a Christian cemetery, and making religious idols for festivals. Growing up in Mumbai, connecting with the city’s character in every way, now he reflects his relationship with the city in his designs.

Photograph by: ?

How old are you and what do you do for a living? I am 32. Currently, I freelance as a furniture desinger, which also funds my experiments with bags and shoes that I design.

What did your childhood look like? I grew up in a 220 square feet home in a chawl(where I still live) in Mumbai. I always travelled on foot and saw the city’s landscape, heritage, and social issues closely. I was exposed to the city’s varied cultures and ever-changing life. My work reflects the impressions that I formed through these expeditions in Mumbai. The colours and elements I use in my work are inspired by the old art deco buildings, local taxis and buses.

What was your first job? My first job was to paint the RIP wooden crosses for a Christian cemetery along with designing stones for the graves. This was in 1999, just after my father’s death, and I would get paid Rs 20 for painting a cross. I would wait for five people to die to make a hundred. We were always short on money at home. Though later, I started making paintings of Gods [Ganesha / Krishna] which were framed and sold for just about enough money.

Describe your experience at National Institute of Design. NID gave me a lot of exposure. I had taken up product design, but I would spend most of my time gallivanting from one department to another, like textile, accessory design, and graphic design to ceramic work. There was no end to learning at NID and I thought it was not fair to be confined to just one class. Even my assignments were generally incomplete, as I believed I was there to learn through my own understanding of design. I wish I could go back and be there forever, without having to pay the fees of course!

What has inspired your ‘I love Mumbai’ and houndstooth bags? I was inspired by ‘I Love NY’ graphic (created by Milton Glaser) which I saw a lot of people wearing in Mumbai. Because of my love for the city I changed NY to Mumbai. The houndstooth bag has the word ‘Mumbai’ camouflaged in it. I just wanted to merge two versatile subjects together.

What is the importance and significance of Mumbai in your designs? I was born and raised in this city, then called Bombay. For me, the real Bombay is the one with its Gothic and Art Deco buildings. Old cinema halls like Eros, Regal and Metro; they exude character and almost narrate a saga of cross-cultural influences. Thus, through my graphics, I’m trying to recreate that essence. By incorporating the old BEST 786 Double-decker bus in my designs, I’m trying to rebuild and remind people of what we have lost out there.

I feel the new Mumbai is being forced upon us. I don’t like the fact that it is changing and that we are losing its real essence. The addition of skyscrapers, shopping malls, fancy cinema halls has led to a loss of identity but then that’s what modernization is all about. I still love everything about the city.  It’s my mood board.

Kuch bhi About two years ago Neil posted a photo in a Facebook album – a red heart on a yellow background captioned as “kuch bhi” which means “anything.”  The caption further read, “Would you like to download this image and do ‘anything’ to it? It started as a direction to involve people, to put their heads together in making something(read: anything) for the love of creating something, that would take form as it grew. And it did.

Two years down, and it’s still on. About hundreds of artists and designers have contributed to the project. And now, there are about five hundred “kuch bhi” designs.

See rest of the top voted designs here.

What happens to all these designs? At present – nothing. The kuch bhi graphics could go on – caps /saris /wallets/ tee shirts/ ties. A company could buy these designs from us. Maybe I will call “us” the “Kuch bhi group.” The company could pay and credit that particular designer. If no one buys it, I want to turn top 300 designs in to a book – in a tearable postcard format. And each page would be the size of a postcard – it would have the design, a stamp area, and would carry the name of the designer. It could also be a collector’s item or a coffee table book.

Problems you face as a struggling designer? There should be many more platforms for designers like me to display work – similar to how upcoming fashion designers have options in fashion weeks. Other mediums cost money which is why people who are talented, but have empty pockets, can’t use them. Even a stall at the Kala Ghoda festival costs Rs 20,000(?) or more. I started marketing myself on Facebook first, gaining attention from my audience in the easiest and least costly way. It is not great but that’s the only option I have.

I get work through word-of-mouth references. I have been freelancing for sometime and I never made any paper contracts with anyone because I just didn’t know how to do it. I am really bad at all that.  It’s sad that people in the industry take advantage of you because you lack business skills. I used to think it’s simple. If someone likes my work, they hire me to do something..pay me..give me credit. But it wasn’t like that. I did some design work for a stationery brand. I got paid well but no credits. I don’t understand why they won’t give any credits. All international companies do that. They even give a percentage from the sales to the designer. If these Indian companies are only going to exploit and use the designer for a one time job that they make profit out of for eternity… how is a designer going to grow or even be motivated to make new innovations?

Then, what would be your definition of an ideal situation for you? Considering, I suck at business/marketing part of designing. The ideal situation would be funding companies and sponsors telling me – “Hey we like this product. Let’s make it. We’ll buy the idea from you and give you credit.” Till now I’ve only heard “we like it.”

Your aversion to media. All they want is either your photo or put you on TV and make you talk. At different times two major channels have asked me “we found your work interesting..we are making videos..can you come on board?” Now I can’t look in the camera. I am not comfortable with 10 people standing around me, video camera stuck in my face, with the lights shining. I get embarrassed. I am not even a good talker.” If I say, “I don’t want many people around. I will do this shoot here..at this place..at my own convenience, if I put my terms and conditions, they’d say, “Who is this guy? A nobody acting all pricey.” I don’t want that so I just refuse.

How does the future look? I am optimistic about it. One needs effort and luck, and I’m waiting for the latter to strike soon. Perhaps with good media coverage and better sales, I could take my dreams to the next level. And once I reach there I intend to promote and sell other young designers, create a platform to market them and ensure that their talent represents India as a brand to the rest of the world.
Contact – neildantas@gmail.com
His work on Facebook – here.
Edited by an old school girl. —————————————
I had photographed Karan & Sacha carrying Neil’s bags- here and here. Neil contacted me later in April and gave me some of his bags so I could blog about them. I managed to put a story together..which, I think, formed as I gradually discovered people of different kind. I found a barber running an eighty year old salon..a painter taking break from his work..a house maid on the road. Later, I tried to create a comparison between them and people who belong to a completely different section of the society.
—————————————- Kantilal Klimbachia, 60. Barber. Runs a salon in Versova called Goldstar. It’s in the middle of modern establishments and is easy to miss.

“The salon was my father’s and before that his father’s. It has been there for more than 80 years now I think.
I have been living and working here for 35 years. Before cutting hair I used to do small time costume designing/ironing. I ironed clothes for Bollywood films like “Hum dil de chuke sanam” and Shyam Benegal’s tv serial –  Yatra. At the salon I have about 15-20 customers everyday.  7-11 in the morning is the time for regular clients. I go to their places to cut hair. I charge 35 Rs. for a haircut. My most famous client was this Bollywood actor Mehmood’s son – Lucky Ali. I cut his hair in 1984. Cost of a haircut at that time was 1 rupee.”
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Mary, 35. Housemaid and a part-time rag picker Is wearing hand me downs. Speaks conversational English. Has a problem with numbers. “I studied till 5th standard in Goa.I came to Bombay 30 years ago. My husband left me long ago. I have been staying in a one room apartment for 25 years. I own the place now and have a ration card, but for a week there is no electricity as I couldn’t pay the bill. I don’t remember buying clothes ever. All my clothes are hand me downs from people I worked for. As a house maid, I earn Rs. 1200 a month. These days I have no work so I mostly do rag-picking.” —————————————-

Bharat Maruti Joshi, 55. Wall painter. Has been painting walls for 30 years. Works as a day laborer.
“I earn 200Rs a day for a 15 day long project. Sometimes there is no work for a month…then I just sit at home and wait. I have been in bombay for all my life. My shirt and shorts are 4 years old. I have 5 shirts, 2 pants, and a pair of slippers. I live alone. I don’t stay with my wife because we both realized we were not compatible. We are not divorced as that would have required money and putting all that on paper was not important. I visit my wife and kids once in two months.”
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Karan Berry,28. Footwear designer. Waist coat and pants are self designed. Tee is from H&M.
Karan has about 30 trousers. 100+ shirts, 150+ tees. about 600 clothes.
“I shop when I feel the need for retail therapy which depends on how much money I have during that month. My last expensive shopping was from Zara where I ended up spending about 12k. Post that I didn’t shop for 2 months and only bought stuff from the streets as that’s what I could afford. Usually I don’t shop for more than 2k a month. The cheapest haircut I got was for 7Rs., 6 years ago, at a local barber shop in Delhi..now I spend about 500 on a haircut. I go to Costa Coffee cafe almost everyday to eat a blueberry muffin.”
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Krishna Mukhi, 27. Fashion Stylist(during the time of the interview)…now studying at LCF.
Owns about 31 pairs of shoes. 18 handbags and about 800 clothes. Spends about 25k a month on food and travel. “Over the past 6 months I bought only 2 Mango jeans for 500 Rs. each and 3 tops from fashion street – 150 Rs each. Many of my clothes are gifts from people, and most of the clothes I bought in bulk from Hong Kong…which was last October. I haven’t done any substantial shopping this season. And now, everything that I have looks like Autumn Winter nine.
And it is important for you that the clothes you buy are AW ten?
No. But I look at trends everyday. I source 3 times a week. I look at the best stuff from all over the world.It leaves me sick and tired of fashion where I want to look like a tramp and not even comb my hair. Many times I find it difficult to like regular stuff because I have ODed on some great stuff. Also, I don’t think I can ever get enough of bags/shoes/clothes.
Why not?
It is like this unending lust. The more I see the more I want. I think it is natural. If you were doing what I am doing..you would’ve been like me. Though, in my case, I was always like this, so I decided to do what I do. Contradiction.
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Painting walls, cutting clothes, and wondering if there is life on Mars

November 10, 2010

“In my teens I used to love dressing up for school. Between my sister and me, we had many clothes..mostly from Esprit. Shopping at the big Esprit factory and headquarters in San Francisco in the mid-80s was a big thing. Esprit was hot and edgy then. The clothes were colourful, quirky, and stylish. Every month our dad would drive us to the factory and we’d buy bags and bags of clothes.”

“In addition to this my dad and uncle had their own clothing label – New Moon (which I named after Duran Duran’s single New Moon on Monday) so my sister and I would get first pick with samples they no longer needed. We always looked for stuff that was stylishly absurd. Elsa Klensch from CNN Style was our hero and British Vogue was our bible. I had a clothing calendar for a while to help me forecast my outfits for the coming weeks. But by the time I entered college, my focus turned away from clothes, and I focused on only artsy stuff. These days I still love quirky fashion but my mind and money is spent on art. When I visit NYC or Europe, I come back with a suitcase only full of art magazines/books and other art-related stuff like vinyl toys and supplies. There is no room for new clothes or shoes in my bags.”


Jas Charanjiva,38. Graphic artist.
Jas paints art on walls, gives lectures on underground art from around the world, conducts workshops on stencil graffiti art, and wonders if there is life on Mars. She also recently helped organize an underground art festival in Bandra, Bombay..called “The Art Conspiracy” with The Art Loft.

Childhood and influences
Ever since I was 6, I wanted to be Mick Jagger. Debbie Harry from Blondie was my punk fashion hero besides Vivienne Westwood. First part of my childhood was spent in Toronto where I got my first taste for Brit Rock through my teenage cousins who would gather every friday or saturday night in different basements for a listening party. It was during this time I discovered artists such as David Bowie, Queen, The Police, The Who, The Rolling Stones, AC/DC, Pink Floyd. I was 6 then. Second part was spent in Northern California where I was left to my own devices to discover new and old music while my classmates enjoyed top 40 radio. I got into new wave and alternative rock like Aztec Camera, Haircut 100, English Beat, Duran Duran. By the time I turned 12, I made friends with some skateboarders and it was the art work on the skateboard decks that got me interested in underground art and graffiti. I studied Film and Communications in college though my mom always wanted me to go to an art school which I never did.

Cutting clothes
During summers I would sit at one of my dad’s boutiques with my mom. Once, when I was 11 years old, I was bored so I tore up a big old army sack that had a serial number and address stamped on it and made a mini skirt out of it. I wasn’t a good seamstress, so whether it was my purpose or not, the skirt had a deconstructed punk look to it. I loved it. I hung it on the rack and waited for customers to stumble upon it. Apparently no one loved it as much as I did because it never got sold. After a few days I think it got tossed in to a bin.

Now, when I’m desperate for something new, and I have only an hour to get ready, I cut up an old t-shirt from my husband’s closet and throw it over a pair of jeans and heels.

What’s “Life on Mars” about?
Life on Mars – Factory of Art+Design is my studio (which I’m setting up as soon as we move into our own place) where I’m cranking out characters for an urban lifestyle product line and creating original art.

Inspirations
David Bowie, Tokyo pop, graffitis, vinyl toys.

Inspiration behind the artwork at Yellow Tree
The theme is based on the obvious factor “heat” as it gets really hot up here. I’m still finishing this room and will probably keep working on it until it’s time for the construction crew to come in, take over, and convert this entire space into an art gallery/studio.


All these photos are from the room above Yellow Tree..the walls of which Jas is working on.
Yellow Tree is a cafe in Bandra where a sandwich costs 300Rs.

Jas is wearing a 6 year old top from DKNY, pants from Bebe, Havaianas flip flops from the island of Ibiza.

The celebration of cotton.

November 9, 2010

Aneeth creates clothing inspired by the local dressing styles from the remotest areas, utilizing indigenous knowledge of ancient textile and clothing traditions of India.

Péro recreates and adapts local styles for the modern consumer who loves the aesthetic, but also the ease, comfort and pleasure, provided by the simple shapes. The textiles are handmade in various parts of india, and each collection incorporates at least five traditional techniques from the country, for example- block prints from Rajasthan; Jamdani from West Bengal; woven textiles from Maheshwar; Khadi from Calcutta. Each piece is hand crafted and passed through the hands of atleast 5 to 12 crafts people. The result is a collection of amazing pieces with incredible hand feel & stunning details.
Text: various internet sources

I missed the show but I got these at their stall.


Bhumica in a Péro scarf.


Sailex in Péro..

Update: Aneeth is also a part of the team that created The Malkha Project. It focuses on the desire for sustainable production, the idea of fair trade, and nurturing ancient crafts and ways. Read more about it here.

Shoes that built cities

November 3, 2010

Bata shoe company is not Indian but there have been good reasons to believe so. Introduced in the country in 1930s, during the time of British rule, in the middle of social and political chaos, I am not sure who wore Bata shoes except for the British..but five decades later, in the 80s, everyone was wearing them. With plenty of stores in every city, print ads in newspapers and magazines, Bata established strong recall value. And due to its simple and economical character, it slowly became every commoner’s shoe.

Bata shoes were also popular amongst school kids. If I remember well, the local shops selling school uniforms would always direct one to Bata stores for school shoes. The company has been around in India for almost a generation and it seems that India is where it originated from. The name sounds Indian. Good thing, Tomas Bata didn’t use his first name. But then, over a period of time, even a fancy European or American name could seem Indian…for example the toothpaste – Colgate. In many villages and small towns, Colgate still means toothpaste…and my guess is, for a long time, the term Bata was synonymous for shoes.

The company was founded in 1894 by Tomas Bata, the Henry Ford of Eastern Europe, in the city of Zlin, Czech Republic. Bata wanted to make the shoes as affordable as possible so that the greatest number of people could access them. He initiated a policy to set up townships around the factories for the workers and to supply schools and welfare. In building an ideally structured living environment, he attempted to create a “new industrial man.”

During its global expansion in the 1930s, the company started to set up villages all over the world called Batavilles. It established itself in Calcutta and started manufacturing shoes in a village Batanagar, which now is a suburban town.

Today, Bata has a retail presence in over 50 countries, with production facilities in 26 countries, and has sold more than 14 billion pairs of shoes.

The advertisement on the right is from a Polish weekly newspaper. The ad reads – “Peace to men of good will. Merry Christmas.” I think the ad is trying to show that the three kings are wearing Bata shoes, which made the trip possible, or maybe that’s reading too much in to it.

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Ibadariakar,24. Freelance stylist.
Cardigan – Sarojini Nagar  Market
Brooch – Globus
Shoes – Bata
Socks – Shillong street

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Edited by an old school girl.


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