In the period from November 2016 until February 2017 I was a sustainable fashion design intern at Kara Weaves in Kerala, India. Kara Weaves is a social enterprise working with local hand-loom cooperatives to design contemporary home textiles. Their production is completely fair trade and sustainable and their designs aim to create a bridge between a traditional weaving art form and a contemporary lifestyle.
I designed 4 garments for Kara, working and experimenting with two main textiles: thorthu, cotton towel fabric, and a lightweight muslin. I followed Kara's requirements: simple, loose fitting, striving to be zero waste and preferably with universal sizing that fits most of the women's body shapes.
The essence of the creative process was to slow down: the entire collection is hand stitched, which gives each one of the garments unique style, hand crafted value and personality. Contrasting thread, pom-poms and tassels are used for adding interesting details and enhancing the appreciation for beauty of hand work.
'Sunitha' pom pom top
Hand sewn from lightweight muslin fabric, this top is an universal summer accessory. Thin stripes in unbleached white and charcoal are timeless, and a bold off white part at the bottom of the front piece with thin yellow stripe adds an interesting detail. Tank top has a tunnel along the bust with a long drawstring finished with bright red tassels. It is self-adjustable: you can pull the string and adjust the back piece according to the shape of the body, which creates a little gathering. Little triangle extensions on sides create volume and bright red pompoms bring an interesting contrast to the whole garment.
fabric: cotton muslin
color: Whisper white, Magnet, Grenadine
This simple dress is made of two parts: top is from a thin muslin fabric and skirt is made of thorthu, flowy towel cotton. Experimenting with combining the two Kara's fabrics resulted in this unique piece. Knee-long skirt's fabric is a bit heavier than the top part and has two hidden side pockets for more comfortable wearing. Gathered waist holds the two pieces together with an elastic and it is loose, but still fitted and self-adjustable. Handmade stitches of contrasting color thread give the sleeveless top an interesting personal detail.
fabric: cotton muslin (top), thorthu cotton (skirt)
color: Morning glory, Marigold, Biscay bay, Royal blue
The pattern of this simple tunic attempts to be as much zerowaste as possible - fabric is woven to fit the pattern dimensions and the leftover edges are used for bias finishing of the neckline, whose curve is the only shape other than square on this tunic. Material is a light off white thorthu with a contrasting 14'' rusty orange circle print, which is placed in both bottom right corners of the garment respectively. It creates uneven, but neat detail. Hand stitched edges are made using contrasting dark orange thread to bring attention to hand work.
fabric: thorthu cotton
color: Whisper white, Orange rust
'Roshini' tassel top
Soft thorthu fabric of this top is woven in an interesting color combination - purple warp with mustard weft together create an entirely new color. Darker straps are woven with purple/brown weave and bright mustard tassels in the end of the four straps are added for a contrasting detail. This top is a perfect beach accessory: open and airy on the sides while still covering the body, loose and flowy, and can be adjusted with straps to a wanted width according to ones body shape.
fabric: thorthu cotton
color: Marigold, Red plum