Vancouver Fashion Week (VFW) showcases talent from around the world and this year's Spring/Summer 2015 showcase is the same. The event kicks off at the Queen Elizabeth Plaza, with a schedule that includes 70+ designers from 25 different countries.
Shravan Kumar from Hyderabad showcased his collection at the previous VFW and is going to be returning for his second season. “He got an overwhelming response from models and the audience (last season),” said VFW producer Jamal Abdourahman, adding that Shravan Kumar received a standing ovation after his showcase. “His collection is amazing,” said Abdourahman. “The style and design — (it’s) beautifully, beautifully made of some of the best fabrics in India.” And according to Abdourahman, Kumar also has a “huge social aspect to what he does,” with a not-for-profit organisation that helps women in India’s rural communities.
In an interview to Vancouver Desi, the designer amongst other things mentioned about his inspirations and process. An excerpt from the interview,
Question: From where do you get your inspiration for your clothing and designs?
Answer: Every day, at my desk, I spend most of my time creating designs, looking at colours, to catch a certain rhythm, a tone of voice, a slant of light. I have always been in love with art, design, fashion, weaves and the many variations that they create. As a designer, I have always wanted to explore and expand beyond the repertoire of indigenous designs and always thought of making something with a marked difference.
I think about the struggle that the weavers went through to create such beautiful patterns and you know they basically used whatever they found for materials for their warp. They found tree limbs and they built looms and they found blankets that they unravelled to get colours and they found bugs and plants to make different colours for their weavings. And it’s just incredible what they came up with — what a beautiful legacy they left behind. What a beautiful gift they gave us.
You just wish you knew who they were and what their names were and what part of the reservation they lived in. It’s such an inspiration. There is so much I can share on inspiration — everything around me, from the smallest leaf as it drops from a tree to the tallest building on a stormy day, from a flame in a fire to the swell of the Irish Sea; the support my family and my team gives me and by the warmth they show, by the accolades and acceptance of your work, by the great results when you experiment with fabrics, colours and weaves, by the epics, the architecture and the Indian culture — everything inspires me. This is my calling.
I put all my hopes and dreams into my work. I put my heart and soul into my work. I look at one of the pieces I have done a long time ago and I know exactly what was happening in my life because the fabric will tell me what was happening to me at that point. You can just see the whole history of my life in my work. When you see my designs and weaving, you see me and what inspires me. And when you see me, you see my designs and weaving. We are one and the same.
Question: Do you think there is an appreciation for Indian fashion in the Western world?
Answer: There is so much press around an appreciation for Indian fashion in the Western world. The use of natural materials is the biggest trend to have emerged over the past five years and it now has a global demand. Western celebrities and non-celebrities alike have always been obsessed with our saris, jewelry, bindis and henna ‘tattoos.’ We have such a selection of weaves, textures, embroideries and textiles — that it’s hard not to fall in love with our fashion.
Today, India has a quite strong foothold in the global fashion industry — be it our designers, textiles or saris. Not only are our designers a hit at international fashion weeks and a go-to for celebrities at red carpet events; our clothes and culture is an inspiration to many designers internationally. Indian designers are striking on the international fashion arena with incomparable, unique age-old treasures of weaves, embroideries, various fabrics and vibrant colours by combining innovation, creativity, unique styles and comfort. Indian fashion’s influence on world runways has finally become prominent enough to be dismissed by even the most fashionably cynical.
The Indian kurti for example, is positively revelling in its global fashion limelight. Even Hermes launched a sari line to try and tap into the Indian market in 2011. I think the world is ready to embrace ‘Brand India.’
Pic: Vancouver Desi