There is a surge of creative interest in the Indian subcontinent, whose ancient skills and crafts are being threatened as communities rush to fulfil the appetite of Western high streets. A pearl currently nestling in the heart of Dulwich Village, the Friday Sari Project challenges us to make that connection, creating a timely platform for new design inspired by and emerging from India and Sri Lanka. Founder Mehala Ford was born in Sri Lanka and raised in the UK. After a stimulating career in the fashion industry, Mehala reconnected with her heritage through a blog that explored modern ways to wear saris.
That blog finds concrete form in a pop-up shop, which, until December, hosts workshops, talks, film nights and launches that shine a much-deserved light on Indian and Sri Lankan art and design. Running till December 1, 2018, Future Drape is an exhibition – featuring installations, photography and film screenings – with Indian digital mag Border & Fall’s Sari Series which offers beguiling future visions of sari styling.
Every creative whose work is featured in the Friday Sari Project shares that commitment: to grow their business by celebrating the remarkable skills, materials and processes from the lands they love and sparking new dialogue. Here are our favourites.
Mriga Kapadiya and Amrit Kumar aka NORBLACK NORWHITE were raised in Toronto and moved to India in 2009 to explore their Indian roots. The ‘Shimma’ collection of cotton lurex pieces in NBNW’s signature free, fun and bling mashup style has been featured in a host of international style magazines including Wallpaper*, I-D Magazine, Vogue India and Vogue Italia.
Considered minimalism with clean silhouettes and architecturally inspired geometric details characterises the aesthetic of contemporary New Delhi based womenswear label LOVEBIRDS. Designer Amrita Khanna studied at London College of Fashion before returning to New Delhi and teaming up with graphic designer Gursi Singh.
London College of Fashion graduate focuses on design as a form of storytelling. Her label KA SHAR celebrates handicraft in all its forms, adding individualistic expressions to each product to merge localisation and globalisation, art with sustainability. The label was one of the winners of the International Fashion Showcase awarded by the British Fashion Council in 2017.
The KUR Collection by New York-based Sri Lankan designer Kasuni Rathnasuriya revitalises a dying craft in Sri Lanka by offering elegant dresses and sculptural cotton shirts featuring Sri Lanka’s traditional handmade lace made by less-privileged Beeralu weavers, mainly women, in the Southern coastal region of Sri Lanka gain added livelihoods.
BADGER BADGER is a British shirt label designed by Bombay-based British duo, Danni and Flora, who set out to make one thing well. They chose the shirt because it doesn’t go out of a fashion and is a perfect canvas for the stories that Badger Badger like to tell. The shirts, made from soft Oxford cotton, feature charming symbolic graphic motifs, cunningly woven on collars and chests.
RUNAWAY BICYCLE, designed by Preeti Verma, is a design studio based in Mumbai. With a background in advertising and no experience in fashion, Preeti started with a passion to make art of everyday life. Working with wearers to make her own handlooms from scratch, using organic cotton and natural dyes, the clothes are comfortable and luxurious clothes.