March 28, 2015 Asmita Aggarwal

Secret Keeper

We look at an old picture and our eyes well up with tears; or an old quilt that gave us warmth during a testing time, still brings back a flood of memories, Rina Singh of Eka has captured the most dear thoughts as she time travels this autumn-winter 2015

By Asmita Aggarwal

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Her father is an agriculturist, she grew up in Kurukshetra, so somewhere her references in fashion, have always been humble and rooted even though she ran a highly successful export house for 14 years with her husband, servicing many Japanese design houses. Rina Singh of Eka, who also taught at NIFT, Gandhinagar, is immune to the charms of lycra and net, rather she is an innovator and has this season mixed wool, with silk and linen to create the six-yard wonder.

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Calling herself a ‘novice’, as she is just a show old at the India Fashion Week, Rina believes that in 12 minutes you have to tell a story, have a dialogue, connect with the audience, so the line has to have a robust focus. This aut-winter 2015 she is telling tales of loss, love, impermanence, change and romance in ‘Seekers Keepers’ where she is going down memory lane to the time when she in school; holding on to things that were kind of game changers. “I asked all my friends to send me a lasting memory that is etched in their hearts, they did! I made a little scrapbook of it and got it illustrated. I am trying to tell real stories through this line. It could be an old quilt that gave enormous warmth on a cold winter night or a photograph that still gives you a lump in your throat telling you how you were and what you have become. It is a bit of merging the past with the present,” she explains.

The scrapbook includes a story of a beautiful classmate, who lost her young son to Rina’s close friend wishing her good luck before her Class 7th exam on a Parle G biscuit wrapper. “I don’t know if I have done justice to the heart rending stories that were so endearingly shared with me, but I tried,” she smiles.

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It is this realism that has makes Rina different from a sea of designers—maybe that’s why the famed boutique Egg, London by the legendary Asha Sarabhai and Maureen Doherty, who worked with Issey Miyake, seeing Rina’s commitment to textiles, specially khadi, requested her to retail with them. “It was a huge honour and also a humbling experience, I have tried to continue that search by combining interesting elements like a basket weave overcoat with a pure wool dress teamed up with hand knitted gloves,” she confesses. Winter for Rina starts with pearly whites and goes on to charcoals and burgundies; with no-fuss silhouettes like pea coats, apron dresses and Mandarin collars. “I would like my customers to come and experience my clothes, first-hand, as I feel you must be able to communicate with buyers to establish a contact, maybe it is a small town thing, I don’t know. But I do know I have never felt like a fashion designer, rather I am a carrier of stories,” she smiles.

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