'Choosing a certain way of life...'

'Choosing a certain way of life...'

earthy attire

'Choosing a certain way of life...'

Instinctively, we like clothes that are comfortable and breathable. In particular, clothes that are made from fabrics like cotton, linen, silk, wool, cashmere and hemp. However, there are also times when we reach out for fabric that are man-made, fabrics that consist of synthetic fibres and regenerated fibres.

While there had been a decrease in the use of natural fibres after World War II, it is slowly seeing a significant growth today, particularly in the fashion industry. In fact, natural fibres form the basis of a fashion movement under many names: sustainable, green, ethical and eco-fashion. The focuses is to create a system which can be supported indefinitely in terms of human impact on the environment and social responsibility. By extension, it also concerns the wellbeing of fibre producers and consumers, and the conditions of workers in the textile industry.

Preeti Verma and her label Runaway Bicycle are reputed names in the fashion industry. A former advertising professional, Preeti actually started her label by designing clothes for herself, clothes that she would like to own. Coming in various silhouettes including oversized shirts, pants, dresses and tunics, the label continues to have a distinct character.

In conversation with Deccan Herald, the designer talks about natural fibres, fashion and more. Excerpts:
 
Indian natural fabrics in fashion...

Traditional handloom fabrics from India can be counted as some of the finest in the world. It’s not just Indian designers who are seen using these fabrics in their collections, but a lot of international designers are also doing the same. Many today are rediscovering the
heritage of Indian textiles.

Can natural fabrics be used to rethink modern design?

Our summer collection this year had a lot of very light linen and loose silhouettes. No matter what the occasion, grace, elegance and comfort have no substitutes.

Natural fabrics are inherently more comfortable. For us, it’s more like natural fabrics are helping us to create modern designs rather than rethinking it. Also, the customer is evolving to be more accepting of something that is not necessarily trendy, but is definitely comfortable. Natural fibres, generally, make even the most ‘un-summer’ design feel light and airy. A modern aesthetic is meeting age-old crafts and skills.

More about style than fashion...

We’d like to think of it more as a style statement. It’s about saying you care for yourself and everyone around you. Choosing a natural fabric is also about choosing a certain way of life. It says you care; you are willing to make the extra effort in your own singular, non-significant way to preserve the world we live in.

Juxtaposing the traditional and the modern...

Working with traditional techniques means working with traditional craftsmen and artisans. This interaction provides a great deal of learning and understanding of the fabrics we work with. We let the fabrics lead us to how our final garment will look. Mostly, a design is conceptualised first and the materials needed to execute the
design are sourced later.

Our work starts with our weavers and the yarns that they have at their disposal at any given time. The exchange of ideas and design philosophies between the modern designer and the traditional craftsman has made for a perfectly evolved fabric that fits into any contemporary design studio without ever shedding its
traditional aesthetic.

The beauty of handmade products...

No machine can match a handmade product. In fact, weaving by hand leads to certain minute imperfections that bring a certain unmatchable quality of their own. Most importantly, natural cottons and khadis breathe better and feel lighter on the skin. Going forward, as natural fibres find wider and more developed markets, modern
design will be synonymous with a sustainable way of doing things using natural
fibres.

What rules of thumb do wearers have to follow while selecting the right fabric?

First, look for textures that feel good on you. Do also keep a look out for the colours that you prefer. More importantly, look for the tightness of the weave which decides how durable the fabric is.

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