Ka-sha ties up with Kerala’s weavers to explore a fresh narrative for khadi in her Pre-Fall ’19 line
Contemporary and sustainable — when it comes to describing the aesthetics of Ka-sha, Karishma Shahani Khan’s lexicon is peppered with these words. Belonging to the newest generation of urban fashion houses dabbling with khadi, the 30-year-old’s approach to textile design is rooted in its wearability—both, as part of an everyday wardrobe or as occasionwear—thus, allowing the Gandhian fabric to break out of its stereotypical image. “If we, as individual designers, apply our philosophies to the same fabric, there can be multiple iterations of the same thing. That’s what makes interacting with indigenous crafts so much more fun today,” begins Karishma, whose newest Pre-Fall’19 line, Aakar uses khadi woven at the Chendamangalam cluster in Kerala.
Reinterpreting Indian fashion, ever since the inception of her brand in 2011, the Pune-based designer’s penchant lies between marrying traditionally Indian hues and fabrics with quirky silhouettes.
Earlier, having worked with Chendamangalam as part of a rehabilitation initiative by Save The Loom during the Kochi Biennale in 2018, the choice of fabric for her new line was obvious. “We had already interacted with the fabric so much that we recognised its versatility and ability to work for our collection. After all, we, as a brand, are always talking about handlooms and working with handwoven cottons that are easy to wear in India.”
Set the tone
Featuring pieces made from fabric sourced from the Gandhi Smarak Grama Seva Kendram located 25-km from Kochi, the collection is clamp dyed by master artisans from Ahmedabad and uses shades of red, blue, green, black, purple and white. “The khadi from Chendamangalam is associated with large amounts of white. We have retained the identity of the fabric by maintaining the neutral hue with the addition of a contrast colour.” Characterised by horizontal stripes — the primary motif in Aakar—these coloured stripes, in part imitate the borders of a staple Kasavu sari or mundu.
Get the hang of it
Following a textile-focused approach with this collection, the drapability of the cloth has lent to the free-flowing patterns seen as draped shirts, low crotch pants with flaps, oversized jackets, tiered dresses and more. “The name of the collection, Aakar translates into form. We’ve used a lot of zero waste cutting patterns and worked the silhouettes by folding, pinning and gathering it.”
Admittedly a champion of anti-fit clothing trend, Karishma underlines the need for garments that can seamlessly work for anyone. “We realise that not all of us are dressing up for the red carpet. The idea of
our ensembles is to put the focus on you as a person and how you wear
Retailing on the brand’s website, Aakar is priced at Rs 6,000 upwards.