An interview with Padmaja Krishnan of Slow.Useless

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

I know I normally never write about fashion, cause I'm not a fashion person, I just don't think I love it or know it enough to write about it here. But then Padmaja Krishnan sent me her work. So. Interesting. There was so much feeling in these pictures, a mysterious and elusive quality which is tough to pin down. This clearly transcended fashion, it spoke to me. The fact that the designer made the unusual and brilliant choice to use Mita Vashisht as her model definitely piqued my interest.
Slow.Useless is Padmaja Krishnan's world where she "creates authentic, non-confirmative and avant garde clothing that can be labeled quirky and original. Her design-sense is wicked and loaded with pun and humour yet her products are harmonious, light on senses and contain a disciplined understatement. In her design, tradition is deeply respected even as it’s brought into a close dance with the contemporary and the futuristic: A frayed hem left open “refers simultaneously to the weaver’s loom in mid-shuttle” or to grunge or to old Vreeland saying - `never explain, never apologize.’ "

A few glimpses of her work. And an interivew with the Padmaja.

Artnlight: Was Fashion your 1st choice of profession & why do you do what you do?
Padmaja: I was nowhere close to choosing fashion as a career. It sounded too frivolous. When I was about 17, I was unhappy with the cuts my tailors provided and hence decided to learn how to make my own clothes from a friendly, neighbourhood Punjabi aunty. I enjoyed what I learnt- the art of sewing, cutting and making clothes and in those days would spend a few hours at the end of the day stitching my own clothes, toying with fabrics, threads and needles. Coming from a family of thorough academics, I enjoyed mathematics, biology, economics and literature. I never had enough faith in my creative abilities nor did I ever really test it. After much convincing by my sister who literally forced me to apply for NIFT for my design school, I relented and much to my surprise got through the entrance exam. There has been no looking back since then. As a schoolgirl I dreamt of many other professions as a choice including Police, lawyer, engineer, doctor, chartered accountant. But if you ask me today, I thank the weird, mundane, accidental
events that led me to choose fashion-clothes making as a career.
Artnlight: Would you call your work fashion or style or art
Padmaja: I would call it ‘clothes making’. I just make clothes and work to achieve very elementary basics in a product like style, comfort, fit and feel. So in that sense i could be called a stylized tailor. But then I like to surprise myself with my own creations. I never follow seasons, trends or markets. For me a piece has to surprise me, delight me and convince me to wear it. In that sense, my approach could be like that of an artist.
Artnlight: What inspires you and gets you going?
Padmaja: ‘The inspiration comes from the unexpected, from looking at the environment around with insatiable eyes, experimenting with office tools, daydreaming and a wish to hide the limitations of the techniques used when making clothes’ – Koromo by Jurgen Lehl. The approach to design is intellectually reductive, reexamining and reducing details to produce unpretentious simplicity. The endeavor is to create objects of excellence that are timeless and hopefully will give pride to the maker as much as to the user.

Artnlight: Who do you design for
Padmaja: Someone who is curious, avant garde, classic, simple, unpretentious.

Do catch her exhibition today 24th Feb & tomorrow 25th Feb at The vermillion House, 3/12, Cleaveland Road Cross, Fraser Town, Bangalore, 560005.

‘wild silks: khadi linens: malkha cottons: kosa saris redefined as asymmetric tunics: kaantha scraps: hand sewn techniques: rags: deconstructed skirts, seamless jackets, classic kurtas, hand woven men’s pants– This exhibition will feature Padmaja's explorations with the ‘SLOW’ and the ‘useless’.

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