Plus, a look at her latest collection titled Sustainable Romanticism in collaboration with LIVA
Fashion has always been a reflection of the times. Be it in the late 1910s when Coco Chanel’s easy jersey sportswear got rid of the excess fabric and corsetry, in response to women entering the workforce. Or the Flower Power movement in the ’60s and ‘70s, when art and fashion symbolised freedom and peace.
Similarly, 2020 too had its impact on fashion with its lockdown and stay-at-home measures that enabled many to sit down and introspect. When news channels broadcasted footage of blue skies in Delhi and flamingos in Mumbai, it became clear that nature was flourishing, reclaiming what’s hers, while millions were inside their homes. The impact of our actions on the environment was suddenly palpable. If there’s one thing to learn from “the new normal”, it’s this—being thoughtful about all our choices from what we do to what we wear is non-negotiable.
Amidst this mass introspection taking place across the country, LIVA–a brand known for its new age, nature-based fabrics–decided that the time was right to encourage its users to reflect on the impact of their fashion choices on the planet and highlight why being thoughtful is in fashion. LIVA has always been lauded for its sustainable manufacturing processes and its easy-to-drape, fluid fabrics. However, there’s never been a time in recent history riper than today to echo the brand’s proposition of ‘Live Your Flow’. After all, being home with loved ones has brought many people face to face with their truest, most authentic values such as being thoughtfully fashionable. These values, when followed, define what living your “flow” means.
To bring thoughtful fashion to its discerning consumer, LIVA yet again collaborated with fashion designer Rina Dhaka–this time for her Couture 2020 collection titled “Sustainable Romanticism”, which is a reflection of the times we live in. Comfort meets sustainability in a range that is a refreshing burst of florals and botanicals to signal a hopeful, more mindful future. “It signifies that after every dull day, a bright one comes; after calamity, life comes back and blooms to its beauty,” elaborates Dhaka. This is not the first time the esteemed designer has chosen to work with Livaeco fabrics.
Dhaka generously uses invigorating shades of aquas, sea greens and blues with occasional pops of flaming oranges and cloudy pastels in this collection that draws heavily from nature. Intricately detailed, Livaeco fabrics form the base for delicate, feminine handiwork and surface ornamentation. There are three-dimensional flowers that have been cut, sewn and embroidered on the ensembles. There’s lots of scalloping, the silhouettes are fluid (some may even call them anti-fit), and there’s a relaxed, effortless aesthetic that shines through. Cascading ruffles and large sleeves give the collection a very romantic vibe. “The whole feel is very easy flowing,” explains Dhaka. “The big sleeves, the use of white as a contrast, very Princess Diana.”
With lots of button-downs and tie-up overlays, perfect to be thrown on over shorts, it’s clear that the collection is incredibly wearable. According to Dhaka, with the pandemic we have understood the immense “productivity” of long-lasting, feel-good and easy-to-wear clothing, especially since you can dress it up in multiple ways.
On collaborating with LIVA
“I really have enjoyed working with LIVA and using Livaeco fabric as it is nature-based and sourced from FSC® certified sustainable and renewable resources. Also, they are very stringent about their use of water,” explains Dhaka, expressing her concern over the fashion industry’s immense consumption of it. “There will be a real need of the hour, now more than ever, to save up on our water resources.”
On being thoughtfully fashionable
If there’s one thing Dhaka is clear about, it’s this: thoughtful fashion or sustainable fashion is the only way forward. Calling it an “essential chapter in fashion”, the designer believes that it’s time to move beyond our old practices and systems, even though they might have gotten us till here.
“(In the wake) of such a vast pandemic and its massive effect on us, it’s high time we woke up to the fact that there is now a greater move than ever before towards using, consuming sustainable fashion,” emphasises Dhaka. She suggests studying the tags, labels and packaging before purchasing to understand the journey of the garment and the practices that have been followed in its production.
This article appeared on Vogue India.