This Riz-Ahmed-approved label uses fabric scraps to create statement streetwear
What started as an art project is slowly turning into a streetwear must-have. At least if British actor and rapper, Riz Ahmed, is to be believed. Lota, a Delhi-based label, was launched in November last year, out of ‘guilt.’ “We felt guilty that we were adding to the pilling fabric waste by making clothes from virgin material. That’s when we got the idea to turn waste into fashion,” says designer Shradha Kochhar, who runs the show alongside partner Adhiraj Singh. Clearly, guilt is not always a bad thing. And Riz, one of their most famous patrons can vouch for it.
On the road
However, Lota doesn’t fall under the commonly held notion of streetwear. There are no baggy jeans, hooded jackets or graphic t-shirts. “Our aesthetic is purely Indian and we aim to be inclusive. Why subscribe to the sneaker culture and Western ideas of street fashion, when our own streets offer plenty of inspiration?,” asks Shradha. So when she and Adhiraj sat at their studio, brainstorming ideas as to what their brand should be, they decided to create shirts by sewing together fabrics that would best represent the streets of India. “You walk on any road in India and you’ll find bright saris or kurtas, with loud prints, often clashing and garish. There are uncles wearing dad sneakers, but there’s a certain stylishness associated with that as well. They know how to own it. And it is beautiful,” she explains.
Earn your stripes
The textile scraps are handpicked from export houses in Delhi and NCR, sanitised and then put to use. “We pick swatches that are interesting and then segregate them based on their print and type of fabric,” she shares. The colours are one of the most notable qualities of their design. The more, the merrier. For their first collection, which is currently sold out, they created stripes using different fabrics. Their new collection, or ‘drop 2’ is called The Holiday. It is a kaleidoscope of contrasting prints and colours. From this collection, the Saree, is actually a shirt — bright yellow with a sweep of abstract purple and black prints around the centre, on the sleeves and collar. Some of the other interesting choices include Chutney, made from three torn and discarded scarves in a riot of black, green and blue, and Masala, made with blue tie-dyed, red floral printed and orange animal-print fabrics.
Shradha, who is trained to be a knitwear designer, and Adhiraj, who graduated from Central St Martins, London, are currently working on a winter collection using discarded sweaters. “We are planning to unravel the knits and turn them into interesting sweaters, cotton knits, shirts, slinky tops and dresses. And we’re also planning a collaboration with Riz Ahmed soon,” she says, signing off.
Rs.4,200 upwards. Available online