Flowers bloom on shirts, giant leaves grow on jumpsuits, tigers roam the swirls of a sari, and realistic earrings made from scraps of fabric peek into your soul. In other words, when art meets fabric, the result is nothing short of magical. Which they do in the work of designer Aishwarya Ravichandran, who launched her online fashion studio, Aishr, just last year.
Because she has a background in illustration, her work straddles that fine line that separates art from fashion. “We have been using textile art for centuries in the form of kalamkari, madhubani, pichchwai, palampore, chintz and toile de joie. I wanted to combine my illustrations with traditional art prints and see what I can bring to the table,” says the 25-year-old designer , a NIFT Bengaluru alumnus.
Indeed, Aishr’s latest collection, En Madras, paints a vivid image with a series of printed saris and unisex shirts. The collection draws inspiration from the old and new of that city, as well as from its lively streets.
“En Madras translates to my Madras. This has been my hometown for a long time and I have learned so much from the city and its people. I wanted to bring the essence of the city into this collection, so the prints are strong and bold, made in our signature illustration style. The inspiration for the base fabric color comes from the rich hues of the Kanjeevaram sarees, “she adds.
While we have always been in India, the wearable art movement in modern fashion emerged in the 1960s, flourished in the 1970s, and continues to evolve to this day. The idea was to bring art out of the walls and into our daily life. Simply put, it is an individualistic expression.
“Over time, I believe we will be able to blur the hierarchy of the arts by challenging the compartmentalization between a sculpture, a painting or even a less popular art form like truck art,” says the illustrator, whose previous “Horn Okay” series has caught the eye in the industry.
The collection includes a total of nine exclusive studio prints, depicting bold and boisterous truck art. A melange of colors, symbols, quirky texts and elaborate motifs, it is not difficult to fall in love with the pieces.
Ravichandran believes that wearable art has been able to bridge the accessibility gap in society over the years. Today, people can buy art shirt, sari or handcrafted jewelry quite easily as opposed to antique ones which come at a high price. It also supports the growing culture of graphics and believes that digital art has given a new dimension to fashion. “The next few years will see this art form blossom,” he says.
Aishr also embraces the need for sustainable fashion in several ways. The brand works to reduce the carbon footprint by using sustainable muslin fabric with biodegradable dyes. All products are made in limited quantities to avoid waste and the waste fabric is even used to make impressive jewelry.
“Indeed, we will soon launch a new range, Trash, which is a capsule collection that revolves around garbage, how we treat garbage and what it means to us as a society,” he adds.
As for the future, the plan is to expand the repertoire to include clothing, lehengas, shoes, home décor, wallpaper and furniture. And to evolve from online mode to a physical flagship store.
So folks, look at this space.