Cord's co-founder embraces rest, unveils 'Shapeshifters'- A tribute to diversity and human essence

Unpretentious individualism is the theme of the new garment collection by Cord
Pranav Guglani and Neha Singh
Pranav Guglani and Neha Singh

Neha Singh, the 36-year-old, co-founder of Cord, a homegrown apparel and handbags label from Noida, has resolved to prioritise rest and rejuvenation in 2024. But before she can embrace tranquillity, a lot has to be done. As she gently removes creases from the last garment of the Shapeshifters collection, a new one that she worked on with Pranav Guglani, the co-founder, Singh makes sure every stitch, contour, and detail is curated to perfection.

Shapeshifters isn’t a typical collection; it’s a perspective, an observation and a statement of the idiosyncrasies of human existence. “It’s a grand celebration of the expressions and experiences that each one of us has, not without honouring the diverse shapes of the female form,” she says.

To showcase the intricacies, women like communications executive Archana Pundit, content creator Sanjana Rishi, artist Prabhleen Kaur, model and creator Merrylin Boro, visual artist and aerialist Ishaan Bharat, and fashion influencer Dheeraj Reddy modelled the collection.

“Each individual’s personality is depicted. There’s a lot of insight and depth that real humans give and emote; not discounting the work of conventional models. When you put them in front of the camera, you see them jittering. These nuances coming together is a reflection of who they truly are, just like the truthfulness behind our clothes,” she says.

The line comprises a range of trenches, overcoats and jackets in corduroy, twill, wool and denim. The colours are earthy—brown, beige, sea blue, green and deep maroon. The garments boast various styles of embroidery, all done in-house to achieve a cohesive aesthetic. The inclusion of quilting and patchwork further enhances the look and feel of the clothes. The bold, eye-catching prints are statements on their own, requiring minimal accessorisation.

As aficionados of art and fashion, Singh and Guglani draw inspiration from travels, particularly to museums, art galleries and vintage shops worldwide. Their clothing serves as a tangible representation of the offbeat elements that others might miss. Having said that, the place they feel most happy in is their home; another reflection of their personalities.

“It’s a haven of memorabilia from across the globe, with each corner telling the stories of our many journeys. An artefact from Turkey, a painting from Paris, shawls from Kashmir, and countless other treasures that serve as reminders of the beauty of our shared moments, the warmth of connections, and the richness of cultural experiences,” says Singh.

Looking back, if there’s one thing that has served both of them immensely is to never be complacent. They constantly experiment, even if there are serious limitations. Being good listeners and keen observers has allowed them to absorb different perspectives, which they weave into their clothes.

“No two humans are the same, to the extent that each one of us has our unique DNA. Therefore, just by watching somebody closely, many possibilities emerge,” says Singh, who has always been driven by perfection and is now unlearning that. “It’s okay to not give your 100 per cent every day. Some days are meant to be slow, and we should appreciate the luxury of resting. So here’s to a year of working, but also recuperating,” she says.

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