Meet The Tamil Designer Making Kitschy Couture Cool

Meet The Tamil Designer Making Kitschy Couture Cool

While another busy fashion week came to end this week, the wheels of creativity never stop! With homegrown designers catapulting impressing the global audience with unorthodox designs and stellar concepts, we stumbled across one such emerging designer at the helm of the neo-fashion wave.

Abarna Kugathasan, a Tamil designer living in Germany is not your average creative going by the rule book of what’s hot and what’s not. Introducing the world to Kitschy couture, the young designer concocts a dreamy otherworldly aesthetic with her take on kitschy couture.

For the uninitiated, Kitschy is derived from the German word kitsch, which translates to ‘gaudy’ or ‘trash’ design that is considered ugly according to the conventional eye.

And while there is much respect for traditional forms of fashion, Abarna’s design language represents a new league of creatives breaking norms.

Far beyond the realm of avant-garde, the designer’s garments are constructed with ruffle dresses, funky stockings, and sensual cut-outs that aren’t for the faint-hearted! With strong influences coming from the flossing trend of the 2000s, her garments have a provocative accent with super skimpy pieces and strong conceptual narratives.

A Pforzheim University graduate, she fluently experiments with futuristic elements and her diasporic identity to craft a fairy-tale fiesta of her own that captures culture and identity.

Her source of inspiration traces back to the immigrant heritage and knack for craftsmanship that runs in the family. Kugathasan’s family are a part of first-generation immigrants who moved from Sri Lanka to Germany during the 90s in hopes of a better future. Growing up with a seamstress mother sewing traditional Tamil ensembles and mastering the art of saree drapery, a young Abarna found herself fascinated with the loom and thread from an early age. In an interview, she said “I grew up seeing my mum sew all of our festive attires at home surrounded by metres of silk in various colours. I’ve always admired how she brought a little piece of her Sri Lankan home to Germany with nothing more than a simple household sewing machine.”

The Tamil fashion designer recently showcased her work at Berlin Fashion Week 2022. An amalgamation of the magic of childhood nostalgia and a barbie dream into highly skilled fabric manipulations in innovative silhouettes is how I would describe her vision.

Titled ‘DIASPORA FANATISM’, the collection sheds light on Tamilian cultural traditions and rituals practiced in Germany, all of which are reflected clearly in the designer’s collections. We’re talking artificial flowers, idol motifs, and a picturesque set inspired by the scenic landscapes of Sri Lanka. These are all elements that convey a sentimental touch of longing.

All in all, Abarna is leading a generation of diaspora creatives catapulting art that transcends borders and champions identity.

View her work here.

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