By the end of my sixth semester, I was inclined towards textile art, and thus, I wanted to have some exploration and input in that direction for my graduation project. Studio Padmaja designs modern, functional and artistic clothing and textiles using natural material - its earthy aesthetics and texture-packed textiles excited me to pursue this project there. My expectation was to work with waste as raw material and gain an experience in the functioning of a studio setup.
The cumulative outcome includes four projects:
1. A range of upcycled patchwork blouses/ croptops,
2. A range of fabric beaded neckpieces,
3. A collection of upcycled cushion covers,
4. A small project based on the concept of sustaining memory through textile scraps.
Wherever possible, a resource-centric approach was adopted - whatever raw material was available would be at the centre of the design exploration. Across all the projects, an attempt was made to strike a balance between designing one-of-a-kind artistic products and designing reproducible, commercially profitable products.
While the small-scale nature of the studio had limitations like slow production speed, the holistic learning about a brand and its business aspect was a key learning from this project. Engaging with merchandising exercises, photoshoots, a fashion show, vendor communication have all enriched the learning about textiles and their context.
Within the limits of the brief and what was required by the brand, I wanted to keep sustainable development in mind. The time spent at the studio helped cultivate an intuitive working approach backed by reflective critical reasoning. This first industry exposure has indeed been an exciting and fruitful journey.