Couturier Amritha Ram adds colours to KH House of Khaddar's debut SS edit

Amrita Ram gives a haute makeover to khadi at the Paris Fashion Week
Models walk in KH House of Khaddar's SS edit at Paris Fashion Week
Models walk in KH House of Khaddar's SS edit at Paris Fashion Week

On January 26 this year, South’s superstar Kamal Haasan launched his newly-launched label KH House of Khaddar online with much fanfare. The brand that was launched in 2021 in Chicago, promotes indigenous fabric on a global pedestal and couturier Amritha Ram reimagines the khadi fabric with alluring and trendy accents. Ram, who has been Hassan’s looks in films and other appearances for over a decade now, refashioned khadi, creating high-toned suits, double-breasted blazers and trench coats for men and skirts, shirts, jackets and co-ords for women. We spoke to the visionary designer about the label’s colourful Spring-Summer collection that just debuted at the Paris Fashion Week on February 28.

<em>Amritha Ram at the Paris Fashion Week</em>
Amritha Ram at the Paris Fashion Week

KH House of Khaddar launched in 2021 and then expanded the base with its online presence this year. How has the journey been, so far?

It’s been a really exciting one with so many uncertainties looming large, especially COVID-19. However, I strongly believe that if you put your heart and soul into something it will reach its destination. I have always been interested in taking Indian fabrics to the West. In fact, when I was a student at the Fashion Institute of Technology, New York, my collections had an East-meets-West vibe displaying various Indian fabrics. KH House of Khaddar had a fabulous launch and has piqued the interest in Indian fabrics among global fashionistas. The website took a while for us to set up as we moved from a small set-up to a bigger one and the launch of the SS ’22 edit in Paris has been overwhelming.

The launch collection sticks to classics and has earthy notes in block colours… It has a lot of vibrant, cheery and pop colours. Each fabric takes the dye differently and khadi has taken the organic dyes quite well, though it’s more time-consuming. I picked up neon dyes from New York during my last visit, so a lot of colour blocking is there. Also, since I like a lot of fluidity, the silhouettes have that. Surface ornamentation in terms of buttons is also there and the edit gives a lot of freedom to customers as well to mix and match, dress up and down according to their preferences.

When will the collection be available for the consumers?

It will be up for grabs from March end or early April.

In an interview during the launch, Kamal Haasan had said khadi is for all seasons. Given the brand’s global profile, is it fabric for all regions as well?

Of course. I wear it as a second layer here in New York, which is cold in January-February. And Kamal Haasan wears khadi all the time in India with a basic tee inside. So, it’s for all seasons and regions. We have maintained moderation in terms of designs, colour palette and wearability.

Which fashion week are you eyeing next?

It has to be New York Fashion Week. You have been designing costumes for films.

How different or challenging is it from curating for a fashion label?

They are completely different things; two ends of the spectrum. Each one is extremely challenging and gratifying. And among the two, gratification holds more importance to me. Growing up in the fashion industry, I understand its volatile nature with ever-changing trends. But films are different. The vision of the director, the DOP and the personality of the artiste have to be considered while designing. It’s a huge challenge and I love it.

Are you going to continue designing for films?

I am still doing it which is why I hardly sleep! (laughs). I am doing some very interesting films, which I cannot n a m e a t t h e m o m e n t . Technology helps you do everything. Films are my heart and soul but I will be more choosy, now.

Any Hollywood celebs who you wish to dress up in KH?

Everybody! Why not? My agency is already in talks. When we had the third event during the launch in Chicago we sold all our jackets. And what a 20-year-old could wear, a 40-year-old bought it too. So, why should I put up a face and age to my customer base? Khadi is for all and apart from Hollywood, I also want all Indian celebs to wear and flaunt it proudly

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