A fashion collection inspired by sign language

Mumbai-based Mishé that was showcased at the Lakme Fashion Week last October, brings its sign language-inspired collection to Chennai

Designer Bhumika Ahluwalia has often dreamt of showcasing her collection at a coveted fashion week, walking the ramp with a showstopper and taking a bow in front of the audience. The first part of her dream came true last October when she debuted her label Mishé at the Lakme Fashion Week, under the Gen Next Category. Due to the pandemic the fashion event was virtual and therefore the young designer had to make do with whatever expectations Zoom calls could fulfil. But it was quite an experience nevertheless, she agrees.

A fashion collection inspired by sign language

What is interesting about Mishé is that it was started by Bhumika along with her mother Minakshi Ahluwalia in 2018. “My mom became a designer at 50. There is no age to live a dream,” says Bhumika over phone from Mumbai. “I studied Fashion Design at Parson, New York. I have technical knowledge and my mother has always been inclined towards art and fabric. After graduating, I came back to India and we travelled across the country, met weavers, attended art exhibits to understand what is it that inspires us,” she explains, adding that they are inspired by geometry and architecture.

A fashion collection inspired by sign language

This week, their collection Shuwe, fresh off the Lakme runway, is on display in Chennai. Shuwe in Japanese means sign language, says Bhumika, who learnt this skill while studying in New York. The entire collection — featuring lots of separates and a few dresses — has shapes inspired by sign language, which means lot of designs similar to hand gestures. There are cut outs and cord embroidery and Japanese techniques that the duo gleaned from its vast collection of books on design. “We’ve used fabric such as orange peel fabric, banana fabric, recycled cotton, handwoven cotton in shades of light yellow, pink, aubergine, dual tone blue among others,” she adds.

The mother-daughter admit that sometimes their ideas can be a world apart. “Thankfully my mom is fashion forward,” laughs Bhumika, adding, “She tells me to slow down when I am designing and think about the market. Our designs are something that people my age and mom’s age can buy.”

Shuwe is on display at Amethyst, Royapettah, till January 30.

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