October 16, 2020 Asmita Aggarwal

Faith Floats

Rimi Nayak converts helplessness into hope with a collection that embraces change with humility and candour

By Asmita Aggarwal

The last six months has affected each one of us some way, we have felt varied emotions and most of it came from a feeling of loss. Some lost their loved ones, some lost their jobs, while some others lost their business and collectively, we all lost our freedom to live or rather breathe freely. Drawing lessons from this period of despair, loss and hopelessness, Kolkata-based Rimi Nayak wanted to create a collection that narrates the story of positivity. Leaving the gloomy past behind, this collection celebrates “that feeling called spring”; which is incidentally also the tagline that encapsulates the essence of the collection.

“I tried to narrate the story of hope and the feeling of spring in the heart which has been translated through prints of natural and abstract foliage and flowers in vibrant colours,” she adds. Fashion, she asserts needs to be more practical right now. It should be wearable, comfortable and affordable, give a feeling of happiness to the individual wearing it. The challenging current situation is not one to rejoice, but to be optimistic and resilient, while looking for a better and brighter tomorrow. “Hope is an integral emotion we all need to embrace in these trying times and thus my fashion film is also a celebration of this innate emotion in its core essence,” she explains.

As we’re slowly approaching the end of this pandemic stricken year; perhaps the most harrowing and challenging year yet, for the most of us, these are some unanimous questions on the top of our minds, says Rimi. “When does this nightmare end? Does it end at all? And when it finally does, how do we pick up the shattered pieces and glue them back together?” The spring/summer 2021 collection is a thematic and design exploration of these extremely valid yet alarming questions and concerns. “Through our collection titled ‘Bloom’, we unveil a glimpse of resilience, respect and unity, the cornerstone qualities that we envision to embody once we finally emerge victorious from this global apocalypse, which we’re going through right now,” she explains.

Rimi believes human nature is to bloom and flourish; not stay stunted or caged. This divine truth is reflected in every plant, animal, bird and organism in nature.  Thus, the prints developed for this collection, based on a wide variety of tropical foliage, is primarily inspired by this ethos. The bright and vibrant colour palette symbolizes this, while capturing the carefree spirit of spring and the free-flowing silhouettes are a perfect fit for the sweltering summer.

“Bloom” is a humble tribute to Mother Nature for repeatedly reminding us of an important lesson that we can either embrace wholeheartedly or ignore at our own peril. We can only coexist in harmony with our environment when we learn to respect all forms of life without stamping our superiority over every other species. Otherwise, disastrous consequences await us. Like the one we are suffering right now,” she affirms.

Keeping true to the core essence of the theme, the entire collection is designed and developed exclusively from LivaEco (a sustainable and pro planet fabric from the Aditya Birla Group) which helps save water, increases forest cover and reduces Co2 emission. “It was definitely a challenge for us to shift from the regular ramp show pattern to a completely digital platform. But what I really enjoyed about this new format is that, here we not only made clothes, but we also got an opportunity to narrate the story behind our collection through a video format.  Being the first time for us in this new medium of showcase it was also exciting and challenging to push ourselves to create something different and explore a new dimension of showcasing,” she says.

The label’s signature remains prints and silhouettes and in this collection too Rimi explored different versions options, but this come elevated with embroidery. “The customer has definitely changed their thought process regarding buying during the pandemic. The purchase has become more necessity and utility-based rather than impulse buying. They have become more conscious with their choice of purchase. I have kept that in mind and created a stylish resort/loungewear range in relaxed silhouettes at a competitive price point. The collection consists of various separates which can be mixed and matched to create different looks. Thus, functionality and the utility of the outfits have increased and can be repeated in various occasions by tweaking the styling,” she adds.

For fashion labels Rimi, it is definitely a huge challenge to survive in the market with the current financial crunch and other factors. Yet she tried and successfully retained all her employees during these testing times. “We are a brand which tries to tell a story through clothes. We need fantasy as it helps to escape from reality, but we should not get so carried away that we lose track of reality altogether. So wearability and functionality have been very important aspects for us in all our collections throughout the years,” she explains.

As we know “the only thing constant is change” and one should embrace this change wholeheartedly and explore the possibilities that lie ahead. “I feel digitalisation has opened newer avenues and today the entire world is our audience for our show. I have been doing fashion weeks for the last 12 years. The thump of a physical show definitely gives a different rush altogether but what I felt amazing about the new format is that we can explore more, we can push ourselves to create interesting concepts and methods to connect with the audience in a fresh manner. I am really excited about showcasing in the Phygital format,” she admits.

As the old saying goes, “If you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far, go together.” The future is for those, who can unite and work, stand by and stand for each other. “The only way forward is together. We as a community should help each other. Collaboration is the key,” she concludes.


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