Influenced by multiculturalism and inspired by the ideal of harmony between humans and the natural world, emerging brands ARANYANI and KavenLiu DIMOR presented their Spring/Summer 2019 collections at the eleventh annual Nolcha Shows during New York Fashion Week. The Nolcha Shows are a platform for independent designers to showcase their innovative designs to a global audience, allowing opportunities for discovery.
ARANYANI aims to promote social empowerment while creating one-of-a-kind, handcrafted bags for men and women. Haresh Mirpuri founded the brand in 2016 after years of working with different communities in India and Nepal and researching social impact. ARANYANI is based in Bangalore, Bangladore, India and now has three stores. The brand is named after the Hindu goddess of forests and the animals that dwell within them, symbolizing the brand’s focus on connecting humankind to nature through its design and business practices. The name also emphasizes the masterful craftsmanship that goes into each ARANYANI bag to make it fit for a queen or goddess. ARANYANI bags are made from handcrafted leather and are hand-painted by world-class Indian artisans. A maximum of only two items per design are released in each city to reflect the individuality to Aranyani the goddess. By empowering local artisans, ARANYANI promotes economic development in their communities. By using locally sourced materials and telling stories about nature through its designs, the brand the brand upholds its commitment to sustainability and hopes to inspire others to live more sustainably as well.
The theme for ARANYANI’s SS19 collection is “finding your roots,” and it draws inspiration from the lush landscapes of Coorg, popularly known as the Scotland of India. For their NYFW show, the brand paired the collection with visceral video art pieces and musical compositions influenced by the wilderness and culture of India as well as today’s cutting-edge art and music scenes. In this collection, ARANYANI perfects the craftsmanship of timeless classic clutch, handbag, satchel, and backpack designs and decorates them with artisanal Indian painting techniques and textiles. Women’s leather purses are painted to display intricate patterns and marbled swirls of rich colors as well as images of Hindu deities, peacocks, and thunderstorms, which allude more literally to the beauty and spirituality of nature. These bags are also adorned with chic accents like tassels and gold chain straps, which reflect contemporary luxury tastes. The defining features of ARANYANI’s series of leather messenger bags and backpacks for men are the Indian handloom fabrics that accent straps and panels with lively animal prints and geometric patterns. Against the all-white outfits of models with boldly colored eyeshadow, the bags prove themselves to be much more than accessories; they stand out as intimately created artworks, each with its own story. Through it’s detail-oriented approach to fashion, ARANYANI appeals to those who, like Aranyani the goddess, are characterized by elegance and individuality and are awed by the sublimity of our natural world.
Like ARANYANI, KavenLiu DIMOR’s SS19 collection is also inspired by humankind’s age-old fascination with nature and, more generally, a thoughtful exploration of our universe. The brand was created by Kaven Liu, a young designer from the Liaoning province of China who is successfully pursuing a future as a global artist and business owner despite his humble beginnings. Founded in 2017, KavenLiu DIMOR integrates the unique charm of Chinese clothing into its designs, intended to be worn by the ordinary modern woman in day to day life. These designs aim to foster senses of belonging and freedom in the women who wear them. In his SS19 collection, Liu was also inspired by allusions to Chinese philosophers who explored the mountains, seas, and myths of the world, as well as an appreciation of multiculturalism and a love of life.
In this collection, Liu adds a modern touch to familiar feminine silhouettes, drawing from classic forms like the wrap dress, the trench coat, and the tie neck blouse. He presents us with a color palette of black, white, and pastels and occasionally introduces simple patterns like stripes, plaids, and polka dots. Though Liu’s choice of colors, forms, and patterns are relatively quiet, his ubiquitous use of breezy, sheer, silky, and delicately textured fabrics keeps the collection fresh and gives it a distinct sense of weightlessness and divinity, the kind you might imagine a mythical Chinese philosopher felt as he stood at the top of a mountain and gazed over the limitless sea, becoming one with nature. Even fitted and highly tailored pieces like pantsuits and trenchcoats, which are traditionally stiffer and more structured, are constructed with airy textiles that look expensive yet comfortable, giving them a freer and more playful feel that is characteristic of modern Chinese clothing. The collection’s theme of lightening the traditionally structured and serious appears, perhaps most prominently, in a silky cold-shoulder jumpsuit, accented to resemble a deconstructed tuxedo despite its flowy form. Liu’s designs are comfortable, practical, and conservative enough for women to wear as they go through the common motions of their daily lives, fostering a sense of belonging in society, yet his designs are innovative and diverse enough to give women the freedom to express their individual identities.
Photos by Nolcha Shows at NYFW