Hand made Neco print T-shirt in Cotton.
Launched as the initiate collection of Neco Studio in late 2019, Dreamscapes aimed to capture the zeitgeist of a radically changing consumer of clothing. Designed to supplant the archetype of rigid clothing norms, the collection juxtaposes abstracted prints with linear silhouettes and creates an equipoise of interests between individual expression and uniform culture common in work spaces. Experiments in visual metamorphosis and inspirations drawn from exploring the psychology of liminal spaces and the psychedelic nature of dreams led to the amalgamation of clothing concepts that can challenge ideas of convention and expand our relation with self expression, thus transforming it from a mandated state to an extension of personal will.
The items made for this collection were created with much discussion around genderless fashion, conscious consumptionand sustainability- ideas increasingly becoming prevalent in the fashion landscape. A demonstration of design altering what might be seen as default and offering cultural access to those who may see themselves outside of it.
The patterns for these garments are innovated from traditional styles, incorporating a dartless design that allows great fit while adapting fabric excess to best fit individual bodies. Prints are unique and ambitious of gender while also being versatile for a large range of sizes.
Attached with the project is a note written in 2019 by founder Neelabh Kumar, entitled “Inclusivity in Exclusivity” analysing the coming decade for Fashion and Art.
Inclusivity in Exclusivity
by Neelabh Kumar
In an industry such as fashion that strives to be exclusive, how do the new millennia ideas of inclusivity, authenticity and sustainability start playing in? In the 70’s, fashion witnessed a rise of diverse models and styles thanks to the disco era, but soon after we saw fashion go back to the Parisian centric, white cisgender aesthetic, with the model of colour almost disappearing.
With the rise of the millennial consumer and Asian market forces, the fashion industry now finds itself in a push for more diverse representation. With a majority of luxury sales coming from Asia (China, Japan and the Middle East) and almost 1/3 of consumers being under 35, Eurocentric fashion ideals finds itself in a tough spot. Recent controversy of cultural appropriation (think @gucci and @victoriassecret ) and clashes with governments such as China (the world’s largest luxury market) is slowly showing that people from once marginalised communities are beginning to assert their power of identity over fashion giants which are primarily still controlled and run by cisgender, white people.
In this push for change, Indian fashion seems to be responding along side it’s global counterparts, with brands introducing non-binary lines (think @_huemn ), including plus size models (think @sabyasachiofficial ) and moving away from the “fair and lovely” ideal we all grew up with. But looking deeper, we are far from where we want to be as an industry that is open to all, not just as it’s consumers but also amongst its highest ranks.
Fashion is considered a global industry due to the fact that it flows beyond national boundaries and influences people around the globe. As an industry with such power, it must be careful in what it’s trying to say. Globally, fashion was seen as dictated by a few European cities, New York and to a certain extent Tokyo. This is radically changing with the internet and the rise of a globalised economy.
New fashion designers from former economically developing countries such as nations in Africa and Asia are beginning to take advantage of their domestic market’s growth and are challenging the status quo. They bring with them stories and voices of people who had essentially been missing from the mainstream fashion platform. These voices, being amplified by people who did not see themselves in the traditional fashion circle of the European elite.
Big fashion houses have had to extend their creativity to match the growth of individual expression that the new millennium has brought with it. With the launch of modest fashion into the mainstream (think @dolceandgabanna in Dubai ), rise of luxury street wear (think @supreme and @louisvuiltton collab.) and increasing use of diverse models to cater to an even more diverse customer base, we are watching a new fashion industry emerge. Paris based fashion has also started recognising couture designers outside its walls and into Japan, China and India. African nations are steadily shedding their colonial identity and establishing their lost narratives once again with pride. And perhaps a first in human history, people of the LGBTQ+ community are demanding their space within society.
With such radical changes it is not for fashion to fear, but be excited by the opportunities and possibilities that lay ahead. When the skirt hem for women went above the ankle for the first time in the 1920’s, no one imagined that very soon @maryquant would be inventing the mini skirt just a few decades later. We’ve come full circle- back in the 20’s, with the proverbial skirt hem above the ankle, wondering what we will see next.
Where will fashion go in the 21st century?Just as in previous times we have seen rapid social changes make technology and ideas more accessible, the only direction fashion can go, is forward.
I believe the future of fashion lies in changes we are beginning to see already- peer to peer sales, an embrace of locally sourced textiles, the use of local tailoring services to make customised garments, the shunning of unsustainable and cruel materials (think plastic sequins and fur) as well as intangible ideas yet to be imagined. I feel the future of garments in general will lie in the easing of binary restrictions and formation of silhouettes that, rather than shaping or emphasising the body, will express their wearer’s individual identity and values.
Inventions and the affordability of technologies such as VR and 3D printers open up so much scope, to where luxury fashion can maintain their exclusive appeal without missing the bus on including new thoughts and ideas of the coming era. This is also the best time to enter an industry, when there is rapid growth and change occurring at its very core.
The future of fashion looks promising but just as everything else in the world, fashion is the people who make it. With a louder and more diverse group of voices having a say within the workings of this industry, there is bound to be positive changes.