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      Method to Madness: Tie & Dye

      Method to Madness: Tie & Dye

      Different cultures at different times discovered the unconventional beauty that is tie & dye. The most recent being the countercultural movement of the 60s and 70s, the ancient African tribes have worn the art with pride for over a thousand years while the Japanese have been shaping world design with Shibori  tie & dye ever since 238 BC. In the Indian subcontinent, Bandhani  has held a meaningful and expressive place in the local culture ever since 300 BC, as first documented by the travels of Alexander the Great. 

      Over five millennia later, the vivid colours and patterns of tie & dye have stood the test of time with their stirring movements and arresting style. Undeniably, there has to be some magic in its making.

      Perhaps the intuitive explanation one can think of is its unfathomably strong connection with the human psyche and spirit. Ever since its inception tie & dye has never been restricted to being a mere pretty drawing on cloth, rather it has been the face of countless identities and movements over centuries. For many it stands as a reflection of their heritage, a symbol of pride when worn to be distinguished as a member of a particular clan or community. In Bandhani, the colours are dyed to represent milestones in the wearer’s life, red for the bride, yellow for the young mother and saffron for the sage. With time and evolution, the ancient artform found itself symbolising a new, fearless and carefree era. It has been the voice of change, representing a new age of free spirits and rulebreakers, eventually becoming for some time, the dress of a generation.

      Tie & dye is also the most prevalent technique in our latest drop, Anomaly. In a nutshell, Anomaly celebrates our intrinsic state of being, one devoid of the carefully crafted exterior moulds we build in order to fall under what is ‘normal, standard or expected”. Its pieces are there to remind us of who we are with our flaws and our eccentricities – anomalously beautiful and strongly individual. There lies a firm and persistent parallel between ‘Anomaly’ and the art of tie & dye. A tie & dye pattern is like a fingerprint, distinct and exceptional. Its colour trails forge their own path as they dance around with the force and fluidity of water. This is most prominent in the technique of ‘distorted’ tie & dye, where the bindings are irregular with no set definition of knots. Distorted tie & dye is perhaps as authentic as design on fabric can get, it is unruly, shapeless and mangled but ever so beautiful. 

      So here we are, once again entrusting this ancient artform to stand as a poignant indication of a new wave. We are going to wear it as a symbol of our pride and acceptance towards ourselves. This time around, tie & dye is here to remind us of our power to forge our own paths and live carefree with the beauty of our flaws and scars.

      Anomaly

      Anomaly

      Anomaly

      /əˈnɒm(ə)li/

      (n.)  something that deviates from what is standard, normal, or expected.

      We’re going to start at the beginning - travel back in time and relearn our past in order to unlearn our way of the present.

      It all began with an explosion, not with a fizzle but with a bang. A cosmic occurrence that occurred out of nowhere led to everything that we have ever known in our realm, undeniably what one may call an ‘anomaly.

      An accidental offering brought by The Big Bang, our planet is perhaps the most peculiar anomaly of them all, a labyrinth of light and liquid, a telluric entity that rotates on an unseen axis.  Some claim it to be a broken piece of a fallen star that has endured countless developments and disruptions over billions of light years in order to sustain life.

      And that brings us to a third equally peculiar anomaly – us. All earthlings possess an individuality uniquely different from one another. We are inherently built to dare and defy what’s ‘normal, standard or expected’ for there is certainly nothing normal, standard or expected about our genesis.

      We’re all an anomaly, we’re irregular, flawed, often untamed and ever-changing. Our bodies speak of the journeys we’ve been on, exhibiting the gravity of our endurance. The lines on our chest, the scars on our waist, our drooping eyes and our swollen backs, our androgynous corners and unfiltered emotions all amount to the beautiful and individual imperfections that we are. They have never meant to lessen us in any regard, they remind us of our firm presence, our energy that charges any space we explore.

      Anomaly weaves the essence of this realization into each fabric. This collection mirrors the stubborn wrinkle that asserts its mark on ageless beauty, its pieces celebrate our anomalously tarnished bodies, enveloping them with a brave reassurance that propels us to embrace our anomalies.

      ‘Anomaly’ entails an array of shapes and shadows that reflect our true intrinsic state of being – one without facades and inhibitions. Sublime silhouettes with strong stances, along with those that take an uncharacteristically edgy turn encompass this collection meant for the bold and brazen. You will find a wardrobe sown out of satin silk, organic cotton, organza, khadi and mashru, each fabric attired with handsome details that compliment it best.

      Moody tie & dye distortions take prevalence in the collection, exuding a different energy with every weave: they come alive as electric currents when paired with the timeless gleam of satin silk; mirror the celestial skies when tinted onto sheer organza or resonate the breeziness of easeful cotton. Distorted tie & dye has a certain fluidity to it that resembles ownership of one’s trajectory. How the shapeless patterns forge their own path; bending and blotching along the way yet showcasing their expedition with unfazed pride.

      The Heavenly Bodies Organza Jacket cloaked over the Orion Dress

      Assertively tailored with an ominous red hue, the satin silk Lucifer Pant Suit

      A few pieces come with an unresolved finish with frayed, untied edges that prance around your steps, reminding you to dance to your own outlandish beat. The asymmetrical hemlines brake the standard state of equilibrium, compelling you to find the harmonious balance singular to your own energy. A fairly tight yet stirring spectrum of shades, both fiery and subdued, tint the aura of ‘Anomaly’. From impassioned crimson to pensive blues, the liberation that comes with accepting anomalies is reflected well in all the hues.

      The strength of an anomaly lies in its ability to break the moulds we know and project exceptional beauty in the process. These moulds are our own exteriors and the rules we obey, shaped by the rights and wrongs of a world that we have created. But once broken, they very often take us by surprise and break our chains, forcing us to embrace our anomalies and expect the extraordinary.

      THE ART-FASHION ROMANCE

      THE ART-FASHION ROMANCE

      It is one of the most long-standing love affairs that we know of. Their predominantly parallel paths occasionally interlace to create some of the most imaginative and emotive pieces destined to stand the test of time. What keeps them close is a deeply rooted desire for self-expression, one that is often devoid of any hesitation to cross cultural borders.

      We’ve identified with the blatant honesty and “unrefined finish” of contemporary art since long before we set out to be designers. The reflection and provocation it invoked in us as its spectators eventually found its way in our habits as creators.
      About two years ago, when Āroka was launched, our first collection was miles away from the stylistic hand we believe we were dealt with. An elaborate assembly of flounce and embellishments, it resembled the festive collection that routinely makes the rounds each year. Statistically speaking, the experience felt rewarding but we were well aware of the lack of sincerity in our sense of self-expression. We spoke no truth. As a result of what may have been displacement due to imposter syndrome, we kept circling back to the honesty we found in the works of Basquiat, Ai Weiwei and Anselm Kiefer, to name a few.
      They were fearless and this fearlessness pushed the boundaries enough to erase any rule that came with presenting your expression. Before contemporary fashion began to be applauded for reflecting inclusivity, its artistic counterpart had been ceaselessly fighting for non-conformity of any kind. The surreal rejecting the rational, the grotesque mirroring the unjust and the unorthodox demanding acceptance.

      We’re now well into our second contemporary collection, VOID. The more we dug into the inspiration, the more liberated we felt to speak our truth. We design our pieces for anyone pushing the boundaries enough to break the archetype. We like to use raw, handwoven fabrics, every distressed detail is welcomed. Blurring the lines between what is masculine and what is feminine, each silhouette cuts the figure of what you wish to be, the plunging necklines say nothing other than what you wish for them to say and the oversized T-shirts talk rebellion or comfort as per your demand or desire. Your body is unreservedly yours.

      Kicking off our Journal, it only felt fitting to first write about what makes us the way we are. Sharing some of our most beloved pieces below:

      Ai Weiwei

      One domino effect of Ai Weiwei’s confrontation of society’s bitter truths, was us relying on the use of a distressed expression in our textiles. The fraying, rugged features standing in for the loose threads in the society’s social fabric as we know it.

      Louise Bourgeois

      Louise’s work often dealt with uncomfortable themes, she believed that an artist can show things that other people are terrified of expressing. Louise never fails us to inspire, urging us to allow creation even when it stems from a place of darkness or discomfort.

      Chloe Rosser

      As designers, we tend to gravitate towards Chloe ever so often. Her anonymous subjects transmute into these peculiar but intimate sculptures that undoubtedly command your full attention with their imperfections. We credit Chloe for our desire to actively look for imperfections in our drawings and bring them to life nevertheless.

       

      Christopher Wool

      Wool can be straightforward but he never fails to reflect his sensitivity for the troubled. There is something about his keenness to question or console his audience that we took to our collection VOID.

      Pieces from VOID, a translation of artistic endeavors into fashion.

      P.S Do keep a tab on the Artist Spotlight series on our Instagram, we love to share thoughts on some of the most remarkable artists of our time.

      Keep in touch!

      QUOTE YOUR PRICE

      QUOTE YOUR PRICE

      May 2021, India 

      • India surpasses 20 million Covid cases 
      • Unemployment rate rises to four-month high
      • 7.5 million jobs lost in April ‘21

      *sources linked below

      The solemnity of such state of affairs does gravely affect and alter the various communication plans and strategies adopted by brands across markets. In all rationality, it absolutely should, because business is most certainly not as usual. 
      It feels absurd and surreal to carry on with the requirements of running a business, let alone post about art or fashion or anything that may be remotely ‘normal’. Nevertheless, times like these serve as a reminder for the prerequisite of humanness needed to run an organisation. What follows this moment of clarity are earnest attempts to look after the people that make our creative vision come to life. The administration, seamsters, artisans, craftsmen, everyone who plays their part is keeping the engines running. To be upright, these are a lot of livelihoods that find themselves uncertain about their future and hence we find our ways to anchor our ecosystem to safety. 
      This is what birthed the Quote Your Price initiative. 

       Quote Your Price, explained:
      • Taking flight off the principles of Labour Day, we are offering our customers to quote the price they wish to pay for our designs till the 31st of May. 
      • On purchasing any of the pieces under the “Quote Your Price” tab on our website, you will find a button that asks you to, “Make An Offer”. 

      You are at will to put in whatever amount you wish within the given window.  

      The window is provided to ensure the payment of bare minimum making charges required to tailor the garments.  

      •  All proceeds above the minimum amount will go to the aid of Indian karigars at Dastkar - a society for crafts and craftspeople. You can know more about Dastkar, here

      • The contribution will be made at the end of May ‘21 with the money raised for the welfare of the karigars at Dastkar 

      We are eternally grateful to stand beside our diligent community that has with such profound grace and humanity helped us to keep Āroka strong and creative. 

      Although you and I both know that every single penny counts, we are here to once again reinforce that every single contribution carries hope. We sincerely thank you for your kindness and support. 

      Until then, stay safe and stay strong. 

       

      Sources:

      Hindustan Times:

      https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/india-covid-19-cases-cross-another-painful-milestone-at-20-million-101620074307846-amp.html

      Business Standard:

      https://www.google.com/amp/s/wap.business-standard.com/article-amp/economy-policy/over-7-5-million-people-lose-jobs-in-april-as-lockdowns-bite-cmie-121050301171_1.html

      India Today:

      https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.indiatoday.in/amp/business/story/covid-19-unemployment-rate-rises-to-4-month-high-over-70-lakh-out-of-jobs-in-april-1798800-2021-05-04