EASTERN INFLUENCES INSPIRE THEIR LOVELY DESIGNS
Story by Brittany Maynard
Photos by Rick Hirtle
Playing with Indian textiles, patterns and colours, Nor Black Nor White captures the uniqueness of the brand’s motto, “Designing through adventure”, perfectly. Inspired by cultures, stories, people and of course, the essence of adventure, co-designers Amrit and Mriga have been working hard to create a brand which is both beautiful and distinctive. Plaid caught up with Amrit Singh to discover just how they’ve translated their love for beautiful things into an exciting collection.
To start, can you tell me a little bit about yourselves?
We are based out of Bombay! We shifted from Toronto three years ago. We are good friends, but more like sisters, and have been playing with Indian textiles and art in general while we were living in Toronto. We needed a change from Western living and philosophy, so decided to head East to learn, live and get rooted in India. Both of us have created based on what we know and feel and learn through doing, and not on what we’ve formally been taught.
Do you remember what first drew you both to the world of fashion and design?
We respect beautiful things. It doesn’t necessarily need to be in the world of fashion or design, but our superpowers allow us to tell when things are made with love and thought. Right now we are exploring the beauty in handmade textiles, and it is India that drew us to it.
Colour, texture and pattern seem to be fundamental aspects of your pieces. As designers, how do you combine all these factors into one cohesive collection?
We are colour! We love to wear and play with colours and depending on what we experience, how we feel, what we see, certain colours seem to become dominant in each collection. India is design heavy. Everything from a rickshaw to tree done up for a festival, to hair styles and toe rings, has a specific design that is there for a reason more then just looking pretty. Our exposure to design on the daily gives us an ocean of patterns to create from. When working with artisans, we tend to fall in love with classic patterns that they show us, that they usually feel are “outdated” but we see them as super beautiful and old school.
Your statement, “Designing through adventure”, is quite unique. Can you tell me how this concept was formed and has this always been important in the designing of your collections?
It’s important in our lives to adventure. We are super blessed to be able to make our adventures happen with so much love with our family and friends. Our journey is the core of how we create.
You mention being inspired by stories, people and cultures. In terms of your processes, how do you take these stories and cultures and in turn, create pieces of clothing?
Everything is interwoven and becomes part of final pieces. Whether it be a style we loved on a village woman, the names we choose for the pieces, the textile patterns, the garment silhouettes, the draping, the references are related to our journey. We try to share as much of that through our short process films we release with every collection, to make sure people get a taste of the vibe in which the collection has been created.
As designers how much (if at all) does popular opinion regarding style factor into creating your collections?
We suck with popular opinion because we don’t have a tv, and don’t refer to fashion magazines. What we see in the villages turns us on, and artists working in different mediums, films, music, and people from around the world with great ideas on the internet helps keep us grounded.
Many consider fashion to be a form of art. Would you agree with that statement?
Sure, everything is art, depending from what place you’re creating it from. We create from a space of love and learning, and this process is definitely one of our forms of art. Sometimes people refer to us fashion designers, and we wince as currently we are playing with the format of textile and fashion, but there’s a lot more we are excited to play with as this is just the beginning.
Would you say that artistic expression is an important part of your collections?
Of course. Without expression, what’s the point?
Where would you like to see your designs going in the future?
We continue to push ourselves, our ideas, our practices, how we work with the artisans, even with the industry, and know that our designs will get tighter as time passes.
Do you have specific goals you would like to obtain or do you create pieces freely as inspiration comes?
We are free and learning how to just be while creating.