In a world constantly racing towards the future, it's easy to lose sight of the roots that connect us to our cultural origins and the very essence of our existence. In a bid to rekindle this connection, Ishan Naresh, an artist from NIFT Hyderabad, embarked on a remarkable design project titled PARIKRAMA. Conceptualized by the ancient saying माता भूमि पुत्रोहं पृथिव्या (Earth is my mother and I am her son) that encapsulates the profound connection between humans and the earth, the project explores and celebrates on this relationship that has shaped our history and continues to define our humanity in a creative and meaningful way.
At the heart of the PARIKRAMA collection lies a tribute to India's rich tradition of fine hand skills and craftsmanship. Ishan's vision for this project is deeply rooted in sustainability, repurposing yarns obtained from various sources, discarded textiles, fabric scraps, and hand-spinning them into yarn in Bhagalpur, the silk capital of India. The resulting irregular textures, depths, and subtle colour variations tell a story of the materials' previous lives, adding a unique charm to each piece.
The project consists of 6 looks that employ earth's hues, tactile accessories and natural and renewable materials to create a cohesive sartorial narrative rooted in the elemental connection of the planet and ourselves as carbon-based lifeforms.
Look 1, a handcrafted leather cape, took 300 hours of labor and showcases innovative use of leather, becoming wearable art. The eco-conscious panel is created from repurposed yarns lending it a natural, organic aesthetic with subtle color variations reflecting the history of the materials. Meanwhile, Look 2 reflects the perpetual cycle of human desires. The inner bodysuit symbolizes the golden prison of our unceasing wants, while the outer over-dress features crochet sections and braids crafted with recycled yarns, offering commentary on our tendency to embellish our desires as more precious than they truly are.
Look 3 represents entrapment, drawing inspiration from the entangled nature of human attachment to material possessions. The cape, composed of FreeHand-crocheted swatches, is embellished with metal sequins, gold coins, ghungroo, and handcrafted tassels, symbolizing the wearer's connection to the earth. It is completed with a wide-leg slit bottom. In contrast, Look 4 reflects the never-ending material world and the suffering it causes. This silhouette envelops the head and body, extending into a ground-covering bottom, echoing the all-encompassing nature of material possessions. The spiral-knitted structure highlights the perpetual cycle of human desires and material possessions.
Look 5 embodies a quest for divine liberation and contentment through recognizing innate beauty rather than fleeting desires. It symbolizes self-discovery and growth while uniting heritage, creativity, and individuality. Artisans from Narsapur contribute their crochet art and hand embroidery, enhancing the dress's cultural and aesthetic significance. Meanwhile, Look 6 represents enlightenment and unity beyond material attachments. It celebrates diversity, emphasizing the interconnectedness of all things, with hands facing the sky and soil, signifying balance and aspiration. The jacket panels showcase intricate handcrafting techniques, including knitting, crocheting, and hand embroidery, with special attention to the designed leaves adorning the hem, crafted over approximately one month.
The journey to conceptualize PARIKRAMA was a roller coaster ride that spanned Ishan's college years. It involved extensive research, delving into colour psychology, meticulous mind mapping, brainstorming, and thorough pictorial research. Ishan drew inspiration from various sources, including music, to bring his vision to life, weaving together a poetic tale of our origin and existence and corporealization through fashion.
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