Homegrown Label LOBOMAR-'s Debut Collection Reimagines What It Means To Be Multicultural

Homegrown Label LOBOMAR-'s Debut Collection Reimagines What It Means To Be Multicultural

Donning our most outrageous outfits, it is a truly gratifying experience to end up at a local hole-in-the-wall eatery to end the wildest of nights. These neon-lit makeshift shops with delectable fares, over the years, have become institutions in their own right and continue to remain largely unchanged. Ask anyone in Mumbai, they’d talk of Bade Miya. If you live in Bangalore, the wildest of parties ends with food from an Empire restaurant.

Whether you are in Rome or Kochi, there will always be one of those late-night eateries that are frequented by those who stand out in their ostentatious outfits, and yet look completely at home there. This place where we end up in the middle of the night,  after a wild night of partying - where the makeup is smeared, the heels are in hand and the extra layers and accessories have come off, and people sink into overlapping conversations - is what inspired the debut collection for the global fashion label Lobomar-.

Lobomar - the brand being built by sibling duo Marcella and Marco Lobo is based out of London and Amsterdam. The Indian-Italian origin duo grew up in Germany and the UK and the label crafts attire that explores the concepts of choice and authenticity when it comes to personal identity. As South Asian diaspora, they mentioned how their debut collection draws on the nighttime rituals that have always capped off night outs - whether in India or elsewhere.

In the collection note, they mentioned, “We used projections of iconic cafes, street stalls, and sandwich bars that are close to our heart in Mumbai (like Bademiya, Kyani), Rome (Roscioli), Goa, and Bengaluru. The collection itself pairs upcycled Sarees from our Aunt's neighbourhood community in Mumbai with handwoven organic cotton developed alongside artisans in Tamil Nadu, India.”

The inaugural collection from Lobomar features both men's and womenswear pieces. While Marcella is the designer, Marco brings in his extensive knowledge of digital strategy, customer retainership and management to make the label what it is. The pieces from the label use community-sourced upcycled sarees, as well as select artisan woven fabrics. The debut collection ‘Final Orders, please’ is also on display at the Wereld Museum in Amsterdam as part of their Sari/Statement exhibition. 

The notion of how Final Orders, Please dawned on Marcella is one that this writer refuses to paraphrase, lest it lose it's essence. It is a scene that she saw in her head and brought it to life through the pieces in her collection and the cinematic editorial.

“I had this scene in my head of policemen and women in Colaba shedding their formal uniform at the end of the day, and combining it with more recreational wear like folded-up Mundus, vests, and tank tops. These elements became a starting point for designing contemporary silhouettes that work through the timeless, earthy essence of Mumbai police uniforms, and the contrasting waves of draped, wrapped, and twisted Saree motions that percolate everywhere.” 

Marcella Lobo, Creative Director, Lobomar-

Drawing parallels between the undoing of the pretences that we all put on during the day while sharing a street-side meal or tea with a friend after a night out, to the undoing the constructs of what ‘South Asian Attire' means, the few but select pieces from 'Final Orders, Please' have been created with immense thought and reflection. While there are clearly Indian elements featured in the attires and editorial, there is also a nod to how global the experience of a late-night nosh is, through the usage of silouhettes with universality like a simple shirt or a pair of tailored trousers. 

From the structure of uniforms to the fluidity of sarees, the collection is an interplay of many different design approaches. While their Este trousers feature dramatic, saree-pleat-like folds, the Barbossa Shirt’s back detail is akin to a twisted saree Pallu. When you look closely at each piece from this collection, there are many familiar elements that we have all been exposed to, that are being looked at or interpreted in a new, (perhaps neon-lit) perspective by the designer. 

While the sarees were sourced by the founding duo from Mumbai with the help of their aunt, the other fabrics were sourced by partnering with an organisation in Tamil Nadu. The biggest part of the design process for this collection was sourcing the right sarees in silk and cotton that could be used to tell the concept they had in mind for Lobomar- . For the designer, this was a way to deconstruct the saree while also paying homage to traditional draping that we have all grown up loving. The organisation for sourcing in Tamil Nadu supports local artisans and their livelihood, and the preservation of their craft. The fabric sourced from them by Lobomar- is supple, handwoven cotton, and is dyed ethically and then handcrafted in Mumbai. 

By launching this debut collection with its display at the Sari/Statement exhibit, the brand put itself in a space that is having important questions. The reinterpretation of the attire by Marcella takes it from being traditional and gendered, to being whatever the wearer chooses to look like. In addition to the exhibit, the label also understands the importance of storytelling and is releasing the second season of its video series that features explorations on the identity of multi-hyphenate European creatives and artists and their unique perspectives, just like themselves.

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