Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Karishma Shahani

Beetroot, ginger and turmeric are my guess when I look at Karishma Shahanis graduate collection. With the help of a magical organic dyer, Karishma has created a rainbow stained collection that puts the most high tech digital imaging to shame. Recently graduating from London College of Fashion, Karishma is currently collaborating with American artist Amy Sol creating a collection for Jhoohle, an NGO focused on empowering women in India.

Why fashion?
Just the simple fact of creating new things determines my passion for design.
Fashion in particular because it is so close to our daily lives. I love how contextual it is and how it is a key indicator of changes in society over time.It is a mode of self expression and is vital in defining individuals and in some cases beliefs.

What is your collection ‘Yatra’ about?
India: The land of dreams and romance, of fabulous wealth and stark scarcity, of splendour and rags, of palaces and hovels, of famine and pestilence, of genie and giants, tigers and elephants, the city, the jungle, of a thousand religions and two million gods, the birthplace of human speech, the epitome of legends and traditions.
The collection draws inspiration and elements from the multiple layers of India’s vibrant culture that continuously create colourful, vivid and eclectic experiences for the onlooker. The colours are picked from traditional paintings of Indian Gods, and recreated through methods of dyeing. In its essence this collection is a reflection of the Indian lifestyle of re-interpretation of materials and their function at every step, always re-using and recycling, creating heirlooms that are passed down through generations.
Each garment is made with beauty, simplicity and versatility its core which lends it a multi layered and personality driven charm.
The designs combine a fusion of two extremes, making the collection experimental and unconventional, while being hinged on modern functionality.

Your designs are fantastically bright, what draws you to colour?
Its variety, its scope and my love for the beauty and life they bring to things.

How did you create such vibrant colours/dyes naturally?
Thanks to a very knowledgeable dyer.

Where does your inspiration come from?
Every where- Everything from cultures, lifestyles, history, people, places, traditions, colours and so on. I thrive on and feel inspired by all that I love and anything that catches my attention is my inspiration.

Does living between such diverse places as the UK and India influence your design?
Yes it does. The freedom of being able to reach where you want geographically is almost limitless. Being a person who thrives on influences from my surroundings both places are influences consciously or subconsciously.

What’s your opinion on contemporary fashion production?
With wide spread awareness and increasing environmental and social responsibility, contemporary fashion production is inching towards becoming more conscious. The credit of this influence that variates between extremes is dependent on the brand, the producer and the consumer.

Do you think aesthetics and ethics should be linked?
I think ethics should be linked to everything. It is good to think about who your aesthetics affect.

What next?
I am currently working on a Collaboration Project with American Artist Amy Sol to create a collection for Jhoole, an NGO working towards women empowerment in India.  I hope to gain more experience working on individual projects alongside creating a new collection to set up a Design Label that fosters the longevity and revival of world art and crafts, automatically encompassing and promoting sustainable fashion.

What do you hope for the future of fashion?
I hope for a sustainable future of fashion that continues to become more aware of its power to change and assist changes in lives of all those involved.