October 18, 2020 Asmita Aggarwal

Soul of the Sea

Felix Bendish pays homage to the ‘sea change” in fashion making it both pragmatic and multifunctional

By Asmita Aggarwal

The mood in the fashion world has been to bounce back from this global tragedy and restart life, as well as to create new beginnings and embrace tectonic changes, as a gift from nature. Accessory designer Felix Bendish, kept gravitating towards nature in all her avatars, but most of all seas and oceans. “I just wanted to run away and immerse myself in a beautiful beach. The pandemic has been disruptive, but we human beings have our primitive survival instincts to adapt, march forward,” exclaims Felix.

During the lockdown, to snap myself out of it, Felix started sketching and realised nothing is more, satisfying than to let lines and colours guide the human soul. “I think it gave me relief,” he adds.

The need of the hour is to get the business back on track. People are now extra careful when it comes to spending on fashion – style has changed priorities so comfort, style and multi-functionality come first, as well as personal ideas of beauty. “Through the medium of my short film, I have shown positivity, vibrancy in colours for real people and fashion for all age groups,” he adds.

In the line titled “Water”, the inspiration is taken from the calmness and magnificence of the oceans. How it stands as a true leitmotif of power —-strong and can’t be annihilated with human interference. “This collection is all about forgiveness and resurgence, like the ebb and flow of tides and oceans,” he explains.

His signature style remains hand embroidered, quirky accessories brilliantly playing with lots of textures, prints, neon, pop colours and crystals. He believes it is now time to surge forward and have fun doing so with a bit of whimsy and lots of colour. The embellished accessories include neckpieces, brooches, earrings, hair bands and belts.

With the pandemic, priorities have changed to investing in a piece that will outlast trends and be of multi-use, much like some of his accessories (brooch as pendant, hairbands used as a neckpiece). People are acutely aware of their budgets. Price range would definitely be King. “Travel for a long time is not possible for most. That’s where a collection like mine, brings to the buyer a feeling of a tropical holiday, a beachside retreat,” he adds.

It has been a struggle for the fashion world, and as Felix has been elevating the art of embroidery from the beginning; some of his skilled craftsmen are in their native villages, afraid to travel. “So I have been sending work to their hometowns and they receive payments and feel employed and hopeful. The big positive push mentally for me and my team was to forge ahead to take part in this milestone phygital event by the FDCI,” he says.

To survive, creativity is going to be the buzzword and a talented designer must bring something new to the table. His biggest strength is being able to sell without compromising on quality and the concept, he envisioned. “I am into embroidery, so through that medium, my accessory products have been well-priced and balance both functionality and fantasy,” he adds.

Thus, a beautiful seahorse brooch from his collection will completely lift a shirt or top, making the wearer smile too. Everyone, he says, needs a little fantasy and that will not change. “In fact, future buyers will look for something whimsical, not just practical. The pandemic has proved to us to live a full life and to live it now,” he affirms.

With the world shifting to digital mediums, Felix says it is global and infinite not bound by time or place; his buyers can view it from anywhere in the world, using any technological platform or device. “Showcasing my idea and the film format can be done with ease. The biggest advantage is, overheads are controlled and it’s more focused. However, honestly I do miss connecting with people one-on-one and the heart-thumping excitement of a live show,” he admits.

The future belongs to those, who can be creative, with how they present their collection and make it well-priced. This will help buyers, sellers and also generate more jobs for artisans.

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