While one may not have witnessed knitwear designer Namita Khade’s pieces up close and personal, the descriptions for each piece speak volumes that could prompt one to imagine, in detail. The first look in her graduate show for BA Fashion at Central Saint Martins is titled ‘Soraya’. While there is laid-back elegance and understated sexiness to it, look a little closer and read a little more and you’ll understand why they are a befitting display of the designer’s talent and prowess.
The blue dress isn’t just a blue dress - it’s a knitted drape dress. It is paired with a rightfully ostentatious throw - that is hand-dyed, hand-crocheted and crafted from banana silk and recycled daisy silk fibre. All paired with a hand-dyed organza trouser and knitted banana silk scarf. The components in this outfit may be many, but they come together to realise Namita Khade’s creative vision for her eponymous label.
Her concepts are focused on cultural fusion in design - reflecting her notions on her multicultural identity and, drawing at times even from a multi-generational journey of assimilation into Northern English society while cherishing South Asian roots.
While these are the roots of her philosophy, her design approach is experimental - rooted in curiosity and constant attempts to learn new techniques. She features an interesting juxtaposition in her designs - posing diaphanous designs, sensual cutouts and the use of soft fabrics like mohair, merino yarn and delicate linens, against the use of patchwork techniques, to create full dresses, skirts, and strapless tops. Since every single piece is handcrafted by Khade by hand - taking 8-12 hours to create, they are a true labour of love.
Namita Khade through her designs symbolises the balancing act of freedom and experimentation in youth while staying true to her need for creative experimentation. Her emphasis on customization and creating authentic experiences for wearers adds a personal touch to her designs. To ensure the cause of sustainability that she considers a core value and for it to radiate through the brand, Namita Khade uses fibres from industrial dead stock and promotes small batch, on-order production to further encourage responsible shopping practices.
While she started and continues to be a one-person show, Namita Khade’s distinct style caught the eye of the right people early on in her career. In 2021, her design prowess was spotted by Kim Kardashian’s stylist and she ended up creating a custom Fresh Water Pearl Dress for the style icon that brought the designer to a global platform. Her unique blend of Indian origin with the dynamic London scene and Northern English influences create a nuanced approach to design, evident in each of her hand-crafted designs.
With a resolute dedication towards mindful shopping and sustainable fashion practices, a dedication to equally represent her South Asian roots while holding on to her contemporary multicultural Northern English identity, and a love for experimentation and constant learning, Namita Khade is holding many threads together. But thankfully, she is a savant at the art of knitting and is creating her eponymous label that features beautiful pieces that pay personal homage to the many threads of values that are important to her.
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