Most student graduation projects in the world of design are tentative first steps into the creator that you want to become and are the beginnings of the path that you hope to forge for yourself over the course of your career.
For Aamatullah Lohani, a recent graduate from the National Institute Of Fashion, her graduation project collection ‘time is (?)money’ was an attempt to offer a larger critique of both consumerism and capitalism while creating aesthetic designs that emphasized sustainability and human connection. Homegrown spoke to the young designer to find out more about her creative process, her vision as well as some of her biggest sources of inspiration.
Tell us about your work.
‘time is (?)money’ is a statement streetwear, a design collection for my graduation project.
Time is money means that the value of time is equivalent to that of money. That’s where the problem starts — why can’t we think of ‘time’ without relating it to money?
In a fast-paced world, when forced to slow down during the lockdown, I noticed how people across generations found it difficult to give themselves a break. The looming question of productivity propelled a constant need to do something or the other. As a result, we succumbed to over-consumption - of junk food, Netflix, social media, online shopping, etc. To document this, I began collecting wrappers of junk food I consumed and my eventual contribution to plastic/waste which would pile in the landfills. Marrying these ideas gave birth to the surface development which brought a sense of direction to my collection. Working with unconventional materials, things that people generally consider trash is something I enjoy very much.
95% of the fabrics used in the collection are export surplus/rejects and handwoven fabrics. The surfaces created using plastic wrappers are embroidered over to emphasize how branding leads to over-buying.
What are some of your biggest inspirations over the years of your artistic career?
I seek inspiration from all around me, be it the big things or the small things.
I’m inspired by my dad’s kindness, my mother’s motto to never settle and my sister’s will to never give up. I’m also inspired by Amy Winehouse’s raw emotions and the realness in her music, Hozier’s passion in his songs and Freddie Mercury’s confidence.
At the same time, I continue to look at how people hardly ever hesitate to litter or how they can miss seeing the larger picture when it comes to hyper-consumerism in this capitalistic world and it pushes me to do something about that; to start a conversation.
These small things have inspired me to dig deeper, push myself harder, always,
to live my truth and most importantly, to create better work each day.
Describe your creative process and the purpose with which you create.
My inspirations are always very personal to me, and so it is natural that my process follows an emotional path. My creative process usually begins with free-hand painting, making doodles, or just scribbling away; this helps me understand the mood for the collection.
Being a very hands-on person, I play around with the textiles and surfaces and see what sense I can make of them. Once I have something solid to center the collection on, be it surfaces, silhouettes or colour choice, the rest just follows. I focus on making the pieces functional, stylish and fun. I spend a lot of the time exploring the concept and research part of the process because I want my clothing to mean something. Following trends has never been my thing, I want to create something that makes people question things and spark a conversation; when they look at/wear my clothing, I wish for them to feel something, anything, to maybe experience the emotional journey that I went through while creating the pieces.
What is your favourite piece of your own work and why?
I would have to say that this project, is my favourite piece of work so far. The kind of hard-work, R&D and planning that has gone into this has pushed my creative boundaries like never before and it has taken me a step closer towards becoming the kind of creator I want to be.
What’s a song you’re currently listening to?
Killer Queen by Queen
What’s a project you wish you were a part of and why?
I wish I could’ve been a part of any of the collections made by the Dutch designer, Duran Lantink. I find his work incredibly interesting. He makes use of the deadstock of premium fashion brands from around the world and mashes them up to make his own creations in the most beautiful ways. The way I see it, it speaks a lot about the privileges of these high-end brands and just how careless they are to produce so much waste in the name of fashion. There would be so much for me to learn from him and his body of work.
What’s one place in your city you always go to when you need to find inspiration?
Inspiration for me does not come at once. It builds up over a period of time with observation and thinking through thoughts. I need to be in solitude to collect my thoughts and make sense of things. There’s a specific corner on my terrace that gives me that space.
What’s one quality you wish you had?
You can follow her work here.
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