Next to established fashion designers, The Fashion Orientalist also features talented newcomers to the fashion world. We sat down with Aparna from the recently launched label Earthen Weaves. Read about her journey from high-flying investment banker to a beginning fashion designer and find out all about Earthen Weaves – contemporary (European) fashion designs with Indian influences.
You had a career in the investment industry for many years, now you are pursuing a career in fashion with your label Earthen Weaves, how did this major change come about?
I’ve always been creatively inclined indulging in art classes, pottery classes and pretty much doodled my way any investment meeting! I loved shopping and dressing well for my city job and fashion was just another one of my interests. When I picked up watercolours again in 2015, I leaned towards fashion illustrations heavily influenced by the fashion designers, fashion bloggers and celebrities I was following at the time. Fashion illustrating slowly evolved to fashion designing and here I am!
Your Instagram page reveals a passion for fashion illustration and art, could you tell us more about this?
During my life working in an investment job, I had neglected my watercolour and art brushes for long days in the office and evenings spent socializing. When I found myself between jobs in 2015, I picked up my long forgotten art materials. I leaned towards fashion illustrating, perhaps due to who I was following on Instagram – photographers, Indian fashion designers, fashion bloggers and fashionistas. I found myself wanting to interpret designers’ work in my own way. People responded to my work which made me want to continue improving and experimenting with my style.
Tell us more about your label Earthen Weaves
Earthen Weaves came about one long evening when my friend’s wife – Diana and I were discussing our fashion tastes and our long held desire to start our own business. We shared a love for natural, sustainable and ethical fashion. We loved the hand-crafted elements and embroidery of our Indian wardrobes and wondered how to bring that to our everyday wear. We finally decided to take the plunge and found Lustre studio (through Instagram, where else!) who specializes in creating beautiful Indian outfits. We have collaborated together to bring our vision into reality.
Our target group is working women generally aged between 25-45 years old. We’ve designed for a woman who is seeking an alternative from high street fashion, one who is well travelled and focuses on quality fabrics. She believes in classic fashion with a splash of off beat trends and has a growing interest in sustainable or slow fashion. She is starting to question how her clothes are made.
Where do you draw inspiration from?
We draw inspiration from nature, both in terms of colours, textures and fabrics. We also cannot escape the inspiration we take from our Indian roots.
Which fashion designers do you personally look up to?
Rahul Mishra and Manish Arora from the Asian/international front. Alexander McQueen and Christopher Kane in the UK. We love all of them them for their craftsmanship, the attention to detail that has gone into designs and how brilliantly they express themselves through fashion.
A lot of fashion designers have a celebrity muse, who would you like to dress?
Blake Lively and Sonam Kapoor – both are ultimate girl crushes and they hardly ever put a foot wrong when it comes to stepping out on the red carpet. And yet they are always experimenting and pushing the envelope when it comes to style!
You are based in London, what is the (oriental) fashion scene like in London?
Oriental or Asian fashion has been long been used as one of the most widespread inspiration for commercial fashion. We have a few high street brands in the UK that is obviously Indian inspired incorporating rich colors and embellishments. We are also seeing independent Indian designers from the sub-continent designing for a more discerning audience in the West.
Could you tell us more about any (future) projects you are working on right now?
We are making plans to work more with organic cotton and bringing Indian techniques like chikankari, block printing, tie-dying etc. into our future collections.
On a personal level, I will be releasing a book later this year. The book focuses on illustrating the most iconic costumes seen in Indian cinema.
What advice do you have for aspiring fashion designers?
I’d like to preface my answer by saying – just because something is trite, it doesn’t mean it isn’t true. If you feel very strongly about something, you must follow your passion. With some research, hard work, and perseverance, you can achieve your dreams.
To view more designs from Earthen Weaves visit their website (shop) www.earthenweaves.com
Use the discount code FOWORLD for free international shipping!