A Young Fashion Designer: Kiran from Dream Studio

Freedom and Spirit

Born and brought up in Kerala, India, Kiran has always been influenced by the culture, ideologies, landscapes, nature, art forms and the crafts of the South. “India and its multitude of cultures is a constant source of inspiration for design and life. And I was always fascinated by the idea of fashion design – the ability to tell stories, create art, and express oneself through garments that everyone uses on a daily basis. So as soon as schooling was over I enrolled myself at National Institute of Fashion Technology and graduated in June of 2010.” 

Kiran took her time to explore different worlds before deciding to manifest her dream in Auroville. “After working for other brands and companies, learning and furthering my skills, I felt a need to express myself, instead of trying to fit in already existing structures. So, two years back, I started Dream studio. At Dream Studio we create handmade jewellery, accessories and now, clothing. The clothing line brand is named after me–Kiran Kamal. It made sense to get into clothing, as my specialty is apparel design and clothing has always been in my mind ever since Dream Studio was formed.” She has a clear idea for her target audience: “I see young women wearing my collection, girls who haven’t lost their freedom and spirit, who dare to stand out and have fun!”

Road to Nowhere

So Kiran is doing both – creating spirited fashion and crafting the accessories that go with it. For her jewellery, she is looking to do something unique and takes her time to come to a final product: “My main motivation is to make unique pieces with the material I use, which is glass and metal at the moment. I often create a piece, let it sit, change, wait and change again until I am satisfied. My aim is that people see the work that goes into the pieces, the handmade and unique aspect is very important.” 

While Dream Studio, where she focuses on her jewellery, has been up and running since 2016, branching out into garments is a more recent move. “This collection – Road to Nowhere – is an ode to the forests, landscapes and the nature of Auroville that is ever changing, uplifting and heartening. Nature is fascinating and captivating to study, it never fails to inspire. Being the first collection of garments, I wanted it to be special. I wanted it to be a form of appreciation for Auroville, which has enabled me and given me this opportunity to express myself. Because of that, the collection was named after the Talking Heads song – ‘Road to Nowhere’ – that speaks to me of Auroville:

We’re on a road to nowhere, Come on inside; 
Taking that ride to nowhere, we’ll take that ride
I’m feeling okay this morning and you know, 
We’re on the road to paradise, here we go, here we go…

My other inspirations, besides Auroville, are people like Alexander McQueen, for being a complete rebel with an incredible imagination, for thinking outside the box. Then there is Sabyasachi, who uses traditional Indian motives and puts them in a new way, like no one else has before. There are of course many more but to sum it up, I am inspired by people who have brought fashion towards art.”

Supported and Challenged

Clearly, Kiran is dreaming big, and she would like to expand her business to some of the larger cities in the South of India, like Bangalore and Chennai. That would mean taking on new people in her team, as her workload is already a lot to handle. “My biggest challenge is the number of roles that I am covering. I am the designer, producer, marketing department, stock keeper, quality controller, purchasing team, packaging department and paper work person. So I need to do all of this and still need to find the time to create new things.” Fortunately, she has a lot of support in Auroville and is managing by herself until now: “Yes, at times its taxing and I would like to just go ahead with the designs without looking at the business side of things. But then again there is a need to sustain the activity so it is always a compromise. With the help of my friends and family, it is going forward smoothly.”

It is not by chance that her garment collection is an ode to her environment, to Auroville. “Auroville gives me the freedom and support that I need to create my own path. It’s a challenge and an adventure. The responsibility of being true to yourself and give your best to everything you do without reservations and fears.” While that may sound daunting, Kiran is happy to take up the task. “(laughs) Obviously, I love it.”
For shopping the handmade jewellery and fashion of Kiran, please have a look here.

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