Drug Addiction Through Clothing: An Indian Experimental Design Project

Sakshi Vassa's Experimental Silhouettes
Sakshi Vassa's Experimental Silhouettes Image Courtesy: Sakshi Vassa

Sakshi Vassa is a Mumbai-based designer who imbues every project she works on with a unique visual language that few can imitate. She has an eye for vivid, lifelike silhouettes that represent messages, ideas and motifs and communicate a vibrant simulacrum of abstract concepts. Her latest collection is an experimental exploration of drug addiction and aims to start a societal dialogue about potential solutions to what is an endemic fixation. Sakshi spoke to Homegrown about her work, her inspirations and her overall vision for this project.

Tell us about your work.

QUERENCIA is a collection that aims to start a conversation on ‘Drug addiction’ a topic that people hesitate to discuss even behind closed doors. However, research says that 1 in 8 millennials indulge in drug abuse. These astounding figures made me realize that drug addiction is a deep problem for modern-day society and the stigma that goes around the topic discourages a lot of people to be open about addiction. Therefore post rigorous research, surveys and interviews with coaches from rehabilitation centres, I was able to understand addiction better. This has helped me capture various phases of addiction through these garments. This collection throws light on the impact of drug addiction and the challenges faced by an addict in the form of withdrawal symptoms. This is an effort to portray symptoms such as confusion, chaos, uncertainty, frustration, nightmares, and darkness through various surfaces, structures and silhouette explorations. This collection is my opportunity to spread awareness of drug addiction through the power of fashion along with a hope that this opens up a conversation on addiction and encourages individuals to seek help and not shy away from their reality, because at the end of the day addiction is a disease of the brain.

What are some of your biggest inspirations over the years of your artistic career?

I absolutely love what Amit Aggarwal and Papa Don’t Preach By Shubhika are doing. Their out-of-the-box concepts are a breath of fresh air in this overpopulated fashion industry where every other designer is inspired by work on the internet.

Describe your creative process and the purpose with which you create.

When I decided to start this project, the only thing I was certain about was that I wanted to develop a collection that had the ability to create change. That’s when I started researching addiction, which is one of the biggest social issues of 2022 and within no time, I felt deeply connected to this topic.

Are there any Indian contemporaries of yours whose work you admire?

I absolutely admire the work of DOH TAK KEH. They are absolutely killing it when it comes to developing conceptual Indian prints with a modern touch.

What is your favourite piece of your own work and why?

I would say, I am quite proud of this very collection that is being featured by you. I have worked on these garments for four months in the outskirts of Ludhiana. There, I closely worked with several hand knitting artisans with whom I developed and created various 3D knitting and crochet structures that were integrated with this project. Staying in rural Ludhiana was challenging and this project has not only helped me become an experienced designer but also helped me become the best version of myself.

What’s a song you’re currently listening to?

Night Changes — One Direction

What’s one place in your city you always go to when you need to find inspiration?

I would say I go to local trains. There are so many ordinary people there, with extraordinary stories. People have always been my inspiration: people, their stories , ambitions and experiences. By just striking a simple conversation on a 45 minute train ride, I seek my inspiration and purpose.

What’s one quality you wish you had?

To be able to bring all my creative thoughts to reality.

You can follow her work here.

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