Design label NorBlack NorWhite serves up the perfect mix of Western silhouettes and Indian techniques. The brand, whose name is inspired by Michael Jackson’s track, Black or White, gives you an eccentric, kitsch-laden interpretation of local prints and threadwork.Hailed by Gucci Creative Director Frida Gianinni as her favourite Indian designer duo, Mriga Kapadiya and Amrit Kumar’s label that featured in Wallpaper, Asos, Fashion Television and Vogue India is a culmination of their collective thirst for Indian aesthetics. “We had been working with art shows, fashion, and festivals in Toronto and when we moved to Bombay in 2009 we wanted to use those same energies,” shares Kapadiya. After a trip to Kachchh, Gujarat where they encountered local artisans and textiles, they decided to start an anthropological project that is ‘part art and part fashion’. “NorBlack NorWhite advocates the luxury of handmade – the level of detail, the beauty of ‘mistakes’ and the little deviations that mean no two pieces are ever identical,” feels Kumar.
With bomber jackets and jumpsuits to maxi skirts and tie-dye shirts, every piece is an explosion of colour and prints native to a specific Indian state or city. “We love bandhani, woven ikats and intricate zardozi embroidery. Recently we’ve been using a lot of silks and experimented with classic cotton mundus from Kerala and even suede from the markets of Bombay,” enthuses Kumar. The duo are currently focusing more on mini-collections and series – truly proving they are different from the pack. “We haven’t yetparticipated in fashion weeks because they haven’t made strategic sense for us. Just tradeshows in New York and Paris to showcase our collections,” says Kapadiya.
Rs2,500 upwards. Available at Bombay Electric, Mumbai, Details: nor blacknorwhite.com
– Divya Karthikeyan