September shopping list
From sporting a repurposed pair of jeans to sharing your wardrobe and investing in personal pieces with double use, here's how to shop like a responsible pro
Not so long ago, the ninth month of the year sent the fashion industry in a delirious AF chase for the new—new season, new clothes, new everything. Until 2020 happened and pushed us away from the non-stop newness that the need for fashion is built around. This helped free up mental space to counter desire with logic; how many pairs of jeans and T-shirts do you need before you say, "enough"?
Shopping habits are hard to break. It's called retail therapy for a reason. And if you must consume new fashion to get spruced up for video calls or be ready for the upcoming festival calendar, why not indulge in the joy of second-hand clothing; buy a responsibly made T-shirt; consider renting an outfit, or invest in a pair of earrings that serve another purpose too?
Patch it forward
Saviojon Fernandes loves Madras checks. He loves them so much that he will spend four hours arranging the castoffs of bigger pieces and patch them into mosaic appliqués over second-hand jeans. "I'm a scavenger," chuckles Fernandes. "Before the pandemic, I loved rummaging through second-hand stores at Churchgate and CSMT station, and flea markets in Goa," he says about his home. Levi's is his personal favourite, and his most important—and used—pair cost him £1, which he bought four years ago from London's second-hand paradise, Portobello Road Market. "It's a great way of upcycling jeans to fuse it with the spirit of vintage and the principles of sustainability."
The pandemic has taught us that owning shiny new things doesn't necessarily make us happier.
The concept of upcycling, by way of remaking old clothes or refashioning used fabric or simply using what would otherwise be tossed aside as rubbish, has begun to seem like a crafty idea. "In India, not many appreciate the idea of buying second-hand clothing. The way forward is to shake off the stigma attached to 'used'; it's an inexpensive, improvised and ethical way of approaching fashion especially at a time like now," he says.
The process begins with hunting for jeans. They are then washed, ironed, and groomed for patchwork. "I love the lived-in look of second-hand jeans, and Madras checks have a great connection with denim."
Sport bling around your airpods
Pebble Pods earrings by Misho
That's the thing about wearable technology like headphones; it makes you look and feel more connected. And coping with lockdown life is hard enough without having to decide between fashion and function. Suhani Parekh didn't want to choose. So, she came up with Pebble Pods earrings sculpted in gold-plated sterling silver. The ergonomically designed earpieces (Rs 4,500 to Rs 9,000) come in three styles that look great with airpods but also hold them in place, and catch them if they pop out of the ears. These work with airpods or as standalone jewellery pieces. "I believe the most successful pieces of design are those that combine form, function and aesthetics. Jewellery is so incredibly personal, and so are your headphones," says Parekh of Misho.
Wear brooding Bukowski on your tee
Huemn + Bukowski limited edition T-shirt, Chapter 2
His writing isn't exactly linear but his boozy, big fella face tells the whole story. Charles Bukowski would have turned 100 on August 16. Huemn's limited edition Bukowski T-shirts intend to capture the rage and grief that trail the contours of his face, and the poet's everlasting verses through this nostalgic homage.
Chapter 1 features excerpts from his poem, Style, and a Don't Try boxer graphic on the back of the unisex, one-size T-shirt. Priced at Rs 2,500 a pop, the T-shirts were sold out in a matter of days on the brand's website. "In terms of the young customer who is just starting to invest in Huemn, we wanted our limited edition range to reach more volume sales, and this price range allowed us to do that," says Pranav Misra, co-founder and designer of the brand.
Released on September 6, the Chapter 2 edition carries a similar design sentiment and revisits Bukowski's Love Is a Dog From Hell, first published in 1977. "This book was my first introduction to Bukowski's literary work in 2013. His lack of pretension, tackling mostly universal themes in his seemingly simple freestyle has had an impact on my life. More than a poet, he is a philosopher, provocateur and thinker."
Rent your festive wardrobe
A Monisha Jaising evening gown available at Date The Ramp
After an expected lull of four months, Date the Ramp's (DTR) Chinmoy Panda says, "It's looking like we are almost back to normal. We're getting online enquiries for upcoming festivities like Karva Chauth, Diwali parties and weddings". Panda is the CEO and founder of the members-only service that allows you to rent authentic designer wear and costume jewellery at a fraction of the hefty price—a format he calls hygienic and convenient. "It's a fairly secure choice in case the event is withdrawn due to health reasons as there is no booking or cancellation fee."
DTR buys outright from the designers, and features more than 100 names including Ritu Kumar, Monisha Jaising, Gaurang, Rahul Mishra, Akaaro, Ashdeen and Torani. "There is an aspiration attached to designer wear, which is not always within reach due to the hefty price tags or non-availability of brands beyond metro cities. Most of our clients get a chance to slip into designer wear for the first time, and it's always nicer to wear an original at a fraction of the price, than a knockoff," reasons Panda.
Having a laugh with Castelino
Fashion Musings by Meher Castelino; Cover design by Aniket Satam
The veteran fashion journalist's latest book is an insider's look at the working of the Indian fashion industry, minus names
They say, write what you know—and Meher Castelino with a writing career spanning four decades in Indian fashion has plenty of material to draw on for her latest book, Fashion Musings (Authors UpFront, Rs 295). It is a light 158-page read on and around the inner workings of the glamour industry along with the necessary thrills of fashion weeks and musings on editors, banter and dilemmas in a funny Q&A format served with a side of salty-sting. Couturier Tarun Tahiliani refers to them as "plethora of creatures, designers, fashionistas, the caricatures and the A-listers jostling for a place in the flashlight" in this book's forward.
It's not categorically a tell-all since the actors in the chapters are nameless, but it still does a decent job of offering a broad evaluation. "…after all, we must learn to laugh at ourselves and learn in the process, retaining our sangfroid when under attack or spoof," Tahiliani writes.
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