Stree explores political and social issues surrounding women in India.Living in India for the first 16 years of my life has profoundly influenced the concepts I adopt to research and explore through my garments. In this work, I am addressing the issue of rape, along with the power dynamic between men and women in India. The subject of the female body is central to my work.
In my country, goddesses are celebrated, but women are not. As an Indian woman, I feel strongly about the injustices that the women in the country are accustomed to, such as the treatment they receive by men and the rights they are deprived of just being born a girl. The research that led to my designs directly stems from current rape cases, as well as Indian mythology. I embody the power and darkness of Kali ma — the goddess of death — as well as the dainty, delicate aura of Durga ma — the goddess of positivity and femininity, to set the tone of empowerment and strong Indian women in my work.
My garments are sexy, aggressive and seductive, yet formal, clean and controlled. I create a contrast throughout my work using the means of color, silhouette, and materials to deliberately convey this contradiction. I fuse the use of movement and drapery with strong style lines that allow the eye to navigate to focal points on the female body. I bring out softness with colors such as lavender, light grey, pastel orange, and sky blue, while creating dominance in the same looks with ultra saturated colors such as bright oranges and metallic blues. This intention is pushed further in my fabric choices. For instance, the use of fluid, sheer fabrics such as silk organza and mesh are united with commanding fabrics such as wool, silk wool, and leather to achieve a visual power struggle. Furthering this contrast, When creating my silhouettes I strike a harmonious balance between flat patterning, as well as drapery. My structured, formal silhouettes co-exist with free-flowing, relaxed details. The use of a saree draping over a structured leather corset creates this kind of friction. The incorporation and transformation of traditional Indian silhouettes such as the saree, dhoti, patiala, and sharara is prevalent throughout my work.
My desire for these designs is that they unearth bits of self-reflection and even shame for people. I want people, everyone — regardless of their part in the patriarchy — to rethink their ideology of women being disposable beings that can be easily taken advantage of.