Ikigai, a collection presented at JD Design Awards 2022, is curated by the designers ShanmugaPriya, Nimmi Elsa Alex, Pretty Mary Thomas, and Anjum Banu pursuing their PG Diploma in Fashion Design. The designers took inspiration from Chinese lantern plants and to present it aptly they made their own fabric with kombucha tea. They innovative minds made vegan leather through the fermentation process.
The Chinese lantern plant has a unique structure which makes it one of the best plants that you have around. The group of designers went ahead with the name Ikigai which means reason for being. Their Spring Summer 2022 collection is inspired by the mesmerizing physical features of the Chinese lantern plants’ process of ripening, and its skeletal structure as it dries and turns beautifully into a cage holding the fruit inside intact. These aspects encouraged them to look further for fabrics that reflected the similar characteristics, something that could be grown within nature itself. On their expedition they came across kombucha leather that is made from kombucha tea.
In this collection the designers hailing from JD Institute of Fashion Technology Bangalore combined the aspect of nature and its cycle where we all grow and return back to the earth via incorporating their signature vegan handmade leather. They are following two major pathways- inspiring a group and imagining a future. Their aesthetic is defined and inspired by both the natural and urban world around us combining a symphony of translucent and structured silhouette.
They curated a streetwear collection with their target market of 25- 30 year old working women. They are marketing this as a slow-fast fashion. Kombucha leather has a tendency to wear off in a short span of time. Utilizing this quality they have created outfits where once kombucha leather wears off, a whole new outfit pops up. Lifespan of kombucha is 6 months to one year, hence a new dress after 6 months. The Designers also have used macramé knots to bring the skeletal structure into their collection. Their ensemble consisted of a variety of detachable coats and asymmetrical silhouette with puff sleeve and collar variations.
Their design idea and the ensembles appeared unique over the ramp along with the factor that they can transform into another style within a few months. The collection also received appreciation from JD Design Awards as the Best Innovative Collection Award.
Words By: Deepadharshini N A
Batch: MA in Fashion Communication