Kamal Haasan is all set to garner the love of Parisians as he and his brand House of Khaddar get ready to showcase at the upcoming Paris Fashion Week 2022. Bringing his vision of putting khadi on the global map is renowned fashion designer Amritha Ram, who along with Kamal Haasan launched the brand in 2021. Currently, in Chicago, Amritha is ecstatic about presenting House of Khaddar at the upcoming Paris Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2022. In conversation with New18, the fashion designer talks about taking khadi to Paris, working with the living legend Kamal Haasan and why 2022 will be the year of khadi.
You hear the excitement in her voice, when she mentions that House of Khaddar will be showcasing at the upcoming Paris Fashion Week. After showcasing a pristine line of khadi outfits in Chicago last year, Amritha looks forward to presenting khadi to Parisians. “It’s a vision of Kamal Haasan sir and mine to put the fabric on the global map. It’s the year of khadi and we are going to present our collection at the Paris Fashion Week,” says Amritha adding, “We have gone with a different weave of the same khaddar and it’s the first time this kind of presentation of the fabric is being done internationally. So, yes fingers crossed! It is going to be first of its kind yet one of its kind with the Paris Fashion Week.”
Spearheading House of Khaddar under the tutelage of renowned actor-politician Kamal Haasan has been an overwhelming experience for Amritha Ram. Truly inspired by his work of art and the way he styled himself over the years in his respective films, she considers him an institution of the highest grade. “My experience with working with sir from then to now has been a great journey. I have always considered myself as an understudy of him. What he has learnt over the past so many years in terms of textile, cuts, fits, and hats is unreal. I was so amazed by his style that during the pandemic I created an Instagram page called kh_thestykemanifest where I break down the looks created by him in his movies. In the 70s, he set a trend with the leather jacket, newsboy cap and the aviators. So, when I asked him about the inspiration behind that look, he said he took visual references from serial killer Ted Bundy and put it together.” From wearing khadi during political campaigns to walking the streets of Chicago in a khadi trench coat, Amritha says he’s like the modern Gandhi, embracing khadi with complete panache.
When asked how involved Kamal Haasan is in the design process, she says, “Once I complete the design process I sit with sir. He has his own little fine tuning that comes to his mind which is so quirky. He says I don’t go by books, I never did it in cinema, never in fashion. I go by what I think, I go with the flow. So those are the things which my fashion school didn’t teach me, which I am still learning under his tutelage. I am doing an internship with KH sir. That’s how the design process works.”
Their recent collection Nunool which received a great response was a positive sign, feels Amritha. Breaking the myths surrounding khadi in their debut collection, Amritha says “Khadi can be sexy and sustainable. The collection featured short skirts, cropped jackets and open backs. We definitely broke the myths around khadi which says it is boring, does not have colours, no panache, no western cuts. It is such a diverse fabric and sustainable too. With the recent passing of the New York Sustainability Bill I think we rule in terms of our fabric and tick all the boxes in terms of zero carbon waste, dyeing etc. Khadi is a fabric which is so fluid you can dress it up and you can dress it down.”
Amritha strongly believes that 2022 will be the year of khadi and aims to take the fabric to newer heights. “I believe that I have a responsibility towards holding up the history of the garment and yes, I strive to do it with pride. It’s art and love in its purest form. The fabric challenges me and brings the best out of me.”
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