In Conversation With: Kaleekal At London Fashion Week | Verve Magazine
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February 20, 2017

In Conversation With: Kaleekal At London Fashion Week

Text by Sadaf Shaikh

5 emerging Indian designers, supported by IMG Reliance, took home the award for the Best International Fashion Showcase at London Fashion Week. Here’s a look at their work, influences, and creative techniques

How have you incorporated the theme of ‘The Indian Pastoralists’ in your showcase?
“I have tried to interpret the story of the Toda tribe in the Nilgiri Hills of southern India without culturally appropriating them. Sticking to my core aesthetics, I have applied their values and sensibilities to bring credibility to my collection.”

What are the elements that influenced your collection?
“I have found that the men and women of the Toda tribe dress up very similarly, in the sense that they drape multiple shawls around their bodies. Taking forward the trend of gender binarism and conventional tailoring techniques, the look I have presented is made up of three shawls that have been constructed in a way that minimises wastage during production. Every element in the look is hand woven and handcrafted without any dyes or chemicals.”

What are the local elements that you have tried to retain?
“The beauty of handwoven fabrics. The amount of craft, love and passion that goes into every inch of a handcrafted fabric is unparalleled.”

Whom do you design for?
“My design aesthetic resonates with individuals who appreciate the skill that goes into garments. Each garment is an elevated wardrobe staple that takes a detour from conventional tailoring.”

How have you maintained a balance between an Indian and global aesthetic?
“The silhouettes are experimental and contemporary for global appeal but every single fabric and technique employed is traditionally Indian.”

What are the techniques and textiles used?
“We have employed fine cashmere and pashmina wool along with Indian silks featuring hand embroidery, which took over 60 days to complete. We have also used cruelty-free silk fabrics.”

London is…
“The most supportive and nurturing platform for young designers.”

A show that you would want to attend at London Fashion Week…
“Hussein Chalayan.”

Read about Ragini Ahuja’s installation here.

Read about Ujjawal Dubey’s installation here

Read about Karishma Shahani’s installation here.

Read about Priyanka Lama’s installation here.

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