Chennai designer Lakshmi Subramanian turns her six-year-old’s illustrations into a wearable art collection
Like any other parent, Lakshmi Subramanian knows all too well the avalanche of artwork that comes with homeschooling a six-year-old during a pandemic. However, instead of going down the usual route of turning her fridge into a display gallery, the Chennai-baser designer, who runs the brand Inaki, decided to try something novel. She turned it into the inspiration for her next collection. “There is something about the uninhibited nature of my daughter’s art that has always inspired me. I think, on some level, it reminds me of why I left my job as an engineer and pursued a career in design,” offers Lakshmi, talking about her latest line, Fabscape.
A portmanteau of the words fabric and landscape, we learn that the collection is hinged on seven pieces of art created by Lakshmi’s daughter, Mahati. “The two of us have always spent a lot of time drawing and painting. Incorporating her art into my design was something I had always wanted to do. The lockdown gave me the time to ideate and create the collection,” shares the 38-year-old.
Now, as with most kid’s art, the running theme of the drawings are natural landscapes. However, surprisingly they also do touch upon topics of climate change and melting ice glaciers — fitting for a collection that is touted to be zero waste and consciously created.
Every scrap counts
A made-to-order capsule, the line currently focuses on a single oversized boxy shirt silhouette in a natural colour palette of beige, ochre, and ice and navy blue. “As a brand, we have always tried to work towards creating collections mindfully. Until Fabscape, our focus was on fabric manipulation and zero-waste cutting techniques. But, this time around, we have used a lot of upcycled fabrics.” Crafted completely from leftover running textiles from earlier collections, the line’s base fabric is linen. The play on the upcycled fabric scraps (which Lakshmi tells us she collected over three years) is seen as appliqué work on the back body of the shirt. “Mahati’s drawings were digitally illustrated, and converted into the patterns for the needlework,” explains Lakshmi, adding that each garment promises a new iteration of the artwork due to the limited availability of the textile scraps.” You could perhaps look out for a green-hued sun or a brownish-grey polar bear,” she says with a laugh.
Apart from the launch of Fabscape, the designer informs us that Inaki has new retail plans for the future. While a storefront may not yet be on the cards, the brand is shifting platforms — and graduating from an Instagram store into a full-fledged e-commerce website. “The site is all ready and is most likely to go live within the week.”
Fabscape starts at Rs 2,900. Check the brand out on Instagram @Inakithelabel