Karishma Shahani (En)

“It is as much a means of my expression as it it the persons who wears it, as fashion choices are so objective and reflectors of individuality.”

-Please introduce about yourself

I am a 23 year old final year womenswear design student at the London College of Fashion, UK. I was born and raised in Pune a city in West India. I completed my graduation in Economics, along with a short Fashion Design Diploma before pursuing my BA(Hons) Fashion Design Technology degree here in London

-Please explain about your graduate collections

My graduate collection that I call ‘Yatra’ literally meaning ‘Journey’ draws inspiration and elements from the multiple layers of Indias vibrant culture that continuously creates colourful, vivid and eclectic experiences for the onlooker. The colours are picked from traditional paintings of Indian Gods, and are recreated through natural 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 at its core which lends to 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.

-How did you get into fashion in the first place? What made you want to become designer?

I have always been extremely drawn toward the creative industry, with fashion always being at the forefront even as a child. I loved drawing little women and adorning them with clothes and accessories, making my parents believe that I would eventually take it up as a career. I also loved crafts and would make things and sell them along with other children in the neighbourhood in self-organised ‘melas’ or fairs. I just grew to love creating things.

-Tell me a bit about the London College of Fashion. What was it like studying there? Why did you chose LCF?

My time at London College of Fashion has been a great learning experience. The self-study approach was very different to what I was used to in India where I did a Diploma in Fashion Design, at a school in Pune itself. LCF really helped me let go of many of my inhibitions and allowed me to do what I wanted to with my Final Major Project. The tutors have been very supportive making the Final year one of the best learning phases of my education.
I chose LCF because it has always been regarded as one of the best fashion schools. Another reason would be that it was located in the heart of London. I find this city extremely rich in culture and history, also with all the art related events it has so much to offer. It also makes it easier since its one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world ensuring I could keep getting a taste of India whenever I did feel homesick.
Do you find Indian roots in your design?
Yes I do, especially in colour, texture and techniques… creating harmony in contrasts using sustainable approaches also reflects my indian roots in my design.

-How is the fashion scene like in India?

Its still very young. It still has a distance to go to break into the International circuit but I truly believe it’s time will come. The new designers in India currently are extremely talented and doing amazing work. A number of the established designers have been at International Fashion Weeks in the recent years. There are a couple of Fashion weeks in India with the two main ones being in Mumbai and Delhi. They help promote Indian fashion and their audience include international buyers and press. Being such a large and diverse country there is a lot of textile oriented work being done due to the vastness of the art and craft options available for revival as well as promotion.

-What are the source of inspiration in your design?

Its all about what I see around me, all that is inspiring at the time. I am very drawn to cultures, by that I refer to all that makes it up – people, lifestyles, traditions, arts & crafts, history, the list is endless. I love to travel and explore new places, learning and taking in all that is new and exciting.

-Is there any designers or person that had a strong influence of your work?

Designers whose work I love include Dries Van Noten, Sabyasachi Mukherjee, Issey Miyake, Christian Lacroix, Asha Sarabhai and Manish Arora. Its not just about their influence but more about the definitive styles they all create with multiple inspirations.

-What are the most important factors when you approach your work?

Research, development and means of production

-How do you describe characteristic of your style which makes it difference from others?

My style could be described as anything but minimalistic. Its about contrast in harmony. An eclectic layering of different techniques through juxtaposition of ideas. The work is extremely vibrant through use of a large palette of colours and textile developments.

-Do you view fashion design as a means of expressing yourself?

I do. It is eventually a large canvas that encompasses an entire human body. It is as much a means of my expression as it it the persons who wears it, as fashion choices are so objective and reflectors of individuality.

-What is your vision for the future?

I would love to see myself successfully run my own Label and an Art & Craft organisation that would help benefit artisans around the world creating products ranging from textiles to furniture

Interview:Masaki Takida

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