I’m always on the lookout for great brands championing slow fashion, taking many factors into account. I want every item I wear to come from a place of awareness, with less wastage, using organic agriculture that uses less water for irrigation (and is free of poisonous chemicals), fair conditions for workers, and a generally holistic approach to crafting clothes.
One of the tools I use to find clothing items that fit these characteristics is Ikkivi, a slow fashion shop that focuses on selling and promoting Indian brands that match at least two of their core values: the pieces have to be handcrafted, organic, fair, with minimal waste, local or traditional technique, and vegan. Kanelle is one of the brands on this marvellous platform, and it’s been a joy owning one of their pieces: the Asymmetric Lilac Dress. It’s a beautiful handwoven chanderi dress that I’m always proud to wear; it’s not only a gorgeous garment, but there’s a whole set of unique cultural values behind it. I love the care Kanelle puts behind its fashion, crafting clothes that speak volumes.
Out of the six Ikkivi core values, Kanelle fits into four: the pieces are handcrafted, traditionally made, with minimal waste and by workers who are paid and treated fairly. Every item is made by hand in the traditional Indian way, incorporating some modern tailoring elements for two reasons: first, to ease things up for tailors and workers; and, second, to provide a new twist to crafting clothes. The work is a combination of different techniques, combining what has worked with hundreds of years with cutting-edge technology; Kanelle uses block printing, 3D embroidery, and stitch detailing in materials such as linen cotton, chanderi, kota linen, khadi, and silk organza.
While it’s undoubtedly a slow fashion brand, Kanelle focuses its image on its style, which strives to find balance between keeping traditional Indian attire and opening up to modern trends, within the country and well beyond its borders. Designer Kanika Jain is India-born and England-trained, an exciting combination when it comes to creation; she has a background of marketing and fashion studies in London. The style and colours she’s looking to promote never shy away from showcasing her culture, with only a tinge of western sensibilities to connect with her modern outlook on how to dress. The result is breathtaking, with delicate and comfortable garments that expand on the Indian approach to femininity, with lovely overflowing pieces that feel a little like walking around in a cloud. Trendy, minimalistic, and comfortable are some of the words that best describe Kanelle.
Kanika stumbled into the gist of her collection in her New Delhi workshop: as she walked around and saw the beautiful and fashionable women working on her designs, splattering the entire area with colour, she realised she needed to carry that intimate feel to the outside world. Kanelle is a brand made by a woman and inspired by those women who go from style to style effortlessly, particularly the Indian ladies who make fashion look easy. In each item of Kanelle’s apparel, there is a sense of awe towards women with the ability to combine Indian traditional with a modern approach while also adding a few western elements here and there.
Keeping the precious secrets and practices of traditional creation is an essential part of sustainability, particularly when it pertains to fashion. The massification of clothes is only a few decades old, yet the need to clothe ourselves and look stylish while doing so has been going on for centuries. Every culture on Earth has included part of its soul into garments, and it’s our duty as a society to uphold the values and techniques that have worked for generations. The way each piece of cloth is created, treated, dyed and sewed must be preserved as not only a greener manner of living on this Earth but also as a respectful way to the creations of the cultures of the world.
I love the work of brands like Kanelle, those that strive to take the traditional out of corners and expand it to new horizons. Seeing fashion evolve to a different feel while retaining what makes it unique is always a joy to watch – and wear. Visit the official website here.