If one were to sit and deconstruct the modern way of life today, it would be marred by societal norms and a sense of restlessness to break free from them. To counter this tension that exists, there is also a strong collective voice developing, which is moving towards redefining one’s identity and sense of self — a younger and fresher narrative that doesn’t believe in the boundaries of gender but rather in free play to develop an identity that isn’t rigid. One that flows and explores itself to the fullest.
SMOKE WEAR, as co-founder Sanya Jain tells me, was conceived on the foundation of embracing diversity and is an extension of their umbrella entity, SMOKE LAB, an experimental site that galvanises homegrown, progressive brands. The label embodies freedom, functionality and fuss-free living. She adds, ‘Our approach is non-cluttered and stark, where we try to strip down to elegant basics for dynamic ensembles and easy-wear, giving universal comfort paramount importance.
The latest offering from SMOKE WEAR is a collaboration with the Delhi based label Lovebirds. Known for their functional and minimal aesthetic the designer duo Gursi Singh and Amrita Khanna’s Lovebirds has a sensibility that fits right in with SMOKE WEAR. The collaboration offers monochromatic and functional pieces that are versatile and timeless. Talking about what motivated a collection like this, especially in the present moment, Sanya explains, ‘Our ethos has been about building from basics and creating pieces that are contemporary. We are in a world that has limited resources and this is a reality which motivated us to negotiate, experiment and be creative, in order to create a collection that does justice to the environment. We were of course going through an uncertain time with inaccessible resources at hand, and it was around this striking moment that we built our collection.
The collection with Lovebirds was only natural considering their similar design aesthetic and their sensibilities amalgamated to construct an eco-friendly line. They decided to work with organic fabric already available in the studio and reimagine it in our hypermodern context. The monochromatic pieces are bold and make a statement, yet are kind to the environment they were produced in — the hand-dyeing process involves no chemicals and the stripes and panelled blocks were created using handloom fashion waste. ‘Historically in India we have a huge tradition of repair and up-cycling, people mending and reusing for daily use over and over again. This is the basic framework of recycling/up-cycle that we have adopted now for the new collection,’ adds Sanya.
The fashion industry occupies a rather precarious position in our times. It may look very glitzy on the outside, but the fact remains that is also one of the largest polluters in the world today. Not many brands acknowledge the gravity of the situation at hand but this truth forms the essence of the SMOKE WEAR x Lovebirds collaboration. Sanya elucidates, ‘As a brand we’re aware of how damaging fashion can be and that meant we had to take a conscious stance in our strategy. It has become imperative for all of us today to realise what we have been doing to the world surrounding us, and re-strategise and rework urgently. It is about adopting different methods, new and old, to not further any damages but start healing.
The future looks uncertain due to the pandemic at hand which has tremendously changed daily interactions and how things run. The world is now more digital and this is also a step SMOKE WEAR is now turning towards as well, by investing further in increasing their digital footprint.