Following a design sensibility that bridges the gap between modern and Indian traditions, fashion designer Rina Singh, known for weaving stories through her collections, launches her latest Autumn-Winter collection Aru-An Unsaid Fairytale today at Ogaan, Diplomatic Enclave, Malcha Marg.
As always, this collection too, has a story to tell.
It all began when she met a family on her recent trip to Aru Valley in Kashmir.
“We were invited to their home and met these three girls there, with whom we also had a long conversation. All of that has become a part of the story I am telling this season, which also includes the colours in that household,” says Singh, whose idea of fashion is being timeless.
“The colours in this collection vary between classic and modern, you can even call them eccentric as we have used colour combinations like blush pink with navy or burgundy.
The treatment is likewise — Kashmiri embroidery mixed with modern aspects like long robe, airy tunics and one-piece dresses, worn with traditional jewellery,” shares the Gurugram-based designer who started her journey in the fashion industry nine years back.
Though she grew up in a family rooted in Indian traditions, she attended boarding school and later went abroad for higher education.
While her Indian values remained intact even when she was away from home, she began questioning if her clothes needed to reflect the same?
“The clothes I wear don’t have to represent my culture.
Nor do I need to crossover and become modern for the world. I have to be modern for myself,” says Singh, who eventually started creating clothes that represented her, her individuality. “I think there are many more women like me who share the same ideology,” she says.
The result is rather than confining women to their shapes and saying no to body-hugging dresses, Singh focuses on being comfortable in one’s own skin.
“One needs to be comfortable in her skin and does not need to endorse a particular region or ethnicity. Also, Indians don’t need to be Indian in every part of the world. Our clothes are such that they could appeal to anyone who is free-spirited and bohemian.
"This collection too focuses on shapes that give a relaxed look, with layers in fabrics and in colours,” she remarks. In fabrics, she has played with both lighter and heavy ones, from wool to silks.
Having been raised in a family of agriculturalists, aspects like recycling, conscious consumption and trying to be one with nature are innate to Singh and her brand Eka.
Talking about sustainability, Singh says, “Honestly, sustainability is a much-abused word these days. Sustainability is not a term for marketing— almost all houses in India follow the idea.
"Take for example, how people buy Jamawar or Pashmina shawl which are worn differently on various occasions and are often passed down to the next generations as heirlooms. For me, sustainability is about wearing one garment multiple times, not consume mindlessly and buying things consciously,” she says.
“We all must be responsible enough to think about the ethics of buying, supply chain, production and not use fabrics that will take to degrade,” she remarks.