Conversations and visual narratives about ethical clothing
Ongoing personal project to encourage conversation and education about ethical and sustainable fashion, and what we can do to improve our thinking and actions in this direction.
Using a surreal visualisation of floating clothing to assert the beauty and superiority of the sustainable and ethical approach in fashion.
Photography, Digital Art, Creative Direction by Rhea Gupte
IN CONVERSATION WITH NIMISH SHAH
Your label was one of the finalists of the Vogue Fashion Fund a few years ago. That was when I came across your work and instantly fell in love. I have since then followed the journey of the brand and you, as a designer, through interviews you have been a part of. Many a times they have inspired me to think further about what it means to have a sustainable approach. How did you reach here?
I think I was fascinated by fashion imagery, cultural costume and the beauty of clothes. I got lucky to have pursued something I could make a career out of, I was quite uncertain for the longest time – but always wanted to be associated in the creative industry.
Every collection from the label has been unique and I see it as a journey of your sensibilities, which remain grounded to certain roots. At the core, how do you see your brand?
I compare it with living life beautifully, it’s a sensibility with common sense. In a narrower picture and in specific context to clothes – something very basic and simple that you absolutely love and cherish. Its about those khakhi pants, that silk blouse, the dress that fits every time, irrespective of your fluctuating body. I also like to have that one number for times when the old soul wants to party.
Let’s go back to the beginning.
It was in London when I was doing my undergrad – There was this massive movement going on in the food industry at the time where there was a lot of talk about organic and vegan and conscious food. It inspired me to look at fashion in a very political sense, and it was all at infancy. I decided to do my thesis on the future of sustainable fashion. I did extensive research and conducted interviews with government bureaucrats, it was all eye opening, the scale of consumption and waste. I saw both sides, the power of fashion and large conglomerates as well as the negligence and lack of vision.
How did this knowledge translate into your brand?
At the time, it was setting a good boundary – almost insuring my idea of wanting to do basic clothes with novelty.
Since you started out, what are some of the problems you have faced along the way or still have to deal with?
Irregularities in the supply chain, lack of innovation and the fact that designers have to undertake innovation at the fabric construction stage. (It is not my specialty.)
I would love for you to share one pearl of wisdom with the readers here.
Rethink & use common sense. Contrary to popular assumption – cotton is the most notorious crop and far more unsustainable than many other fibres. So break through the connotation of ethical fashion.
What have been some of your early inspirations?
Stella McCartney, Howies, Patagonia… so many! I love glossy well-done fashion one can look forward to. For me to be inspired, it has to excite and not be passive.
Our previously featured designer, Karishma from Ka-Sha would like to ask you, “Does the cause that you have taken on with your work also affect and shape decisions in your daily life? If yes, would love to hear about it.”
Yes – it almost dictates everything I do, including the food I eat, the holidays I want – it has even tweaked my bucket list. I think it has got to do with growing old with a certain belief. Almost like practicing a religion.
I would like to ask you to contribute a question I can ask the next designer I interview for Ethical Threads.
In what areas would you like a strong government intervention?