The post-COVID-19 fashion-scape calls for revolutionary design interventions with technology playing a vital role. While many labels across the globe are planning to rewire their business models and production practices, LOTA, a Delhi-based label, has already started exploring innovative and sustainable mediums.
Launched in 2018 by Adhiraj Singh, a 3D motion designer & visual artist, and Shradha Kochhar, a knitwear designer and fibre artist, LOTA finds its ethos in an interdisciplinary approach. Think fashion campaigns using CGI (computer-generated imagery, as opposed to actual models) and upcycled streetwear, cool enough for a discerning, millennial wardrobe.
As Gen-Z fashion influencers keep advertisers on their toes, LOTA’s design duo created South Asia’s first CGI model and influencer, Rajiv in 2019.
At one glance, the campaign pictures might be deceptive because Rajiv and his gang are all clad in LOTA’s outfits featuring the most striking colour schemes, a clash of prints and patterns, and a juxtaposition of shapes and textures in textiles all patched up together. Imagine shirts featuring stripes in purple, red, green, and floral vests layered over a panther print shirt. On a closer look, you will realize that the imagery is all computer-generated.
For both Singh and Kochchar, the idea was to take care of the discarded waste in the form of millions of fabric pieces. They work with small fabric scraps, as small as the size of a fist to as big as a meter. The pieces are further segregated based on their weight and are used for creating collages using interesting illustrations on textiles to create unisex pieces.
Even though the label might be relatively new, it has already started accumulating a fan following of fashion fixtures such as Riz Ahmed, writer and performing artist Alok Vaid-Menon, and musician Prateek Kuhad.
Adhiraj Singh gave Lifestyle Asia India a complete lowdown on how he is fusing sustainability and technology to create a new narrative post-COVID-19.
On their creative process
Our canvas changes with each piece as every piece have different scraps with different journeys. Some capture the satire of the modern-day ‘fashion trends’ and others, the ‘imperfections’. We believe that creating sustainably is to take responsibility not just for what you make but also what you discard.
On working with CGI technology
We aimed to create visually striking imagery, and since our production is unconventional, we had to communicate it unconventionally. We knew we wanted to do something we’ve never seen before. CGI seemed to be the only solution considering all our restrictions, and that’s when we took the call to go completely digital. We wanted to challenge ourselves into not only making clothes sustainably but also communicating it without exhausting resources for set design, production, carbon footprint.
On benefit and challenges of working with CGI technology
Today, one can be in Delhi and transcend to an alter reality like a jungle, an island, a mountain, without having to fly out to these locations physically to create memorable communication. With the restrictions of the fashion communication landscape, we wanted to stand out. It was an aesthetic decision but also functional.
Besides this, sustainability and digital imagery go hand in hand for us. We need to use tools of technology to reduce the burden on the resources of our planet. We need to learn and unlearn our old ways. With CGI models, we avoid the carbon footprint that goes into building sets, models, travel etc.
On fashion post COVID-19
Today, resources are finite and no longer accessible in the same way. With people all over the world staying at home during the pandemic, old systems of communication no longer work. Going virtual and digital is inevitable. We don’t know when these restrictions will be lifted, and even after business will not be as usual. For fashion to survive, tools of technology must be embraced. You can already see that with London fashion week’s announcement of going completely digital.
On future plans
Design is constantly evolving. With new information, we are branching out into system problems of fashion, which is a subset of massive pollution we face as a collective species. In addition to that, we are also exploring the potential of augmented reality in our visual aesthetic. So a lot of exciting things are in the mix.