Online fashion studio 'Aishr' blends beauty, culture to create wearable art
The brand works on reducing carbon footprints by using sustainable muslin fabric with biodegradable dyes and all products are made in limited quantities to avoid wastage
Flowers bloom on shirts, giant leaves grow on jumpsuits, tigers prowl in the swirls of a sari and lifelike earrings made from leftover cloth peep into your soul. In other words, when art meets fabric, the result is nothing short of magic. Which they do in designer Aishwarya Ravichandran's work, who launched her online fashion studio, Aishr, just last year.
Because she has a background in illustrations, her work straddles that thin line that separates art from fashion. "For centuries, we have been using textile art in the form of kalamkari, madhubani, pichchwai, palampore, chintz and toile de joie. I wanted to merge my illustrations with traditional art prints and see what I can bring to the table," says the 25-year-old designer, a NIFT Bengaluru alumnus.
Indeed, Aishr's latest collection, En Madras, paints a vivid picture with an array of printed sari and unisex shirts. The collection draws inspiration from the old and the new in that city, as well as its vibrant streets.
"En Madras translates into my Madras. This has been my hometown for the longest time and I have learnt so much from the city and its people. I wanted to bring the essence of the city in this collection, so the prints are loud and bold, made in our signature illustrations style. The inspiration for the base fabric colour is drawn from the rich hues of Kanjeevaram saris," she adds.
While we in India have always been at it, the Wearable Art movement in modern fashion emerged in the 1960s, flowered in the 1970s, and continues to evolve till today. The idea was to get art off the walls and into our daily lives. In a nutshell, it’s an individualistic expression.
"With time, I believe we are able to blur the hierarchy of arts by defying the compartmentalisation between a sculpture, painting or even a less popular art form like truck art," says the illustrator, whose earlier 'Horn Okay' series grabbed eyeballs in the industry.
The collection comprises a total of nine exclusive studio prints, depicting bold and boisterous truck art. A melange of colours, symbols, quirky texts and elaborate patterns, it’s not hard to fall in love with the pieces.
Ravichandran feels that over the years, wearable art has been able to fill the accessibility gap in society. Today, people can buy an artsy shirt, sari or crafted jewellery pieces quite easily in contrast to the age-old ones that come with a high price. She also advocates the growing graphics culture and believes that the digital art has given a new dimension in fashion. "The coming years will see this art form blossoming," she avers.
Aishr also espouses the necessity of sustainable fashion in a number of ways. The brand works on reducing carbon footprints by using sustainable muslin fabric with biodegradable dyes. All products are made in limited quantities to avoid wastage, and scrap fabric is even used to make statement jewellery pieces.
"In fact, we’re soon going to launch a new range, Trash, that's a capsule collection revolving around garbage, how we treat trash and what it means to us as a society," she adds.
As for the future, the plan is to expand the repertoire to include dresses, lehengas, shoes, home decor, wallpaper and furniture. And to evolve from the online mode to a brick and mortar flagship store.
So people, watch this space.