Malvika Vaswani pushes the boundaries of sustainability with her new collection, Sisho
As she mused over her next collection, jewellery designer Malvika Vaswani found herself mulling over the question, “Can a fashion label be truly and wholly sustainable?” Though the 29-year-old’s earlier collections had used a combination of different materials like metal, glass and cord, the Industrial Design graduate from Rhode Island took a break in 2017 to rethink her design sensibilities. Following her hiatus, Malvika emerged with a new concept collection, Shisho (translating to glass) that was hinged on the idea of economy and reuse. “While I was still working on the idea for the collection, I went out and bought 15 kilos of waste glass,” begins Malvika.
Handcrafted using recycled material — discarded brass and factory stained glass, the collection comprises earrings, necklaces, rings and bracelets. Inspired by the pictures of her grandmother in her childhood home in pre-partitioned Sindh, the motifs draw extensively from the Islamic architecture, tile designs and symmetric patterns from the Ajrak print — diamond, triangle and circle. “The collection is an exploration of my Sindhi roots,” she shares. Primarily working with colours of the Indus, Sisho has bright, vivid shades like deep red, fresh green, blue and iridescent white, with the brass plated in either 18-carat yellow gold or rose gold.
The great cover up
Circling back to the question of sustainability on completion of the collection, the New Delhi-based designer collaborated with stylist Ekta Rajani to create the line’s lookbook. However, using a traditional film roll camera to ensure economy in the number of images taken wasn’t the only unconventional thing about the photo shoot. Armed with beetroot juice as the make-up for models and cotton dyed with food and floral waste as the apparel, each of the images were created using natural light. “The concept forced us to be judicious and be thorough which each of the looks.”
Conceding that though zero-waste collections are the ideal scenario, reality isn’t always biased in their favour. “I like to think of myself as an idealist and realist. As designers, we can, at least, aspire to create sustainable jewellery and consume fashion responsibly.”
Currently working with the Asian Heritage Foundation, the designer tells us that she is looking at entering the home décor segment, but the only details that Malvika will let us on in, is that “traditional crafts are getting a contemporary update.”
Launching shortly, Shisho is priced at Rs 2,500 onwards.