The House of Angadi presents ready-to-wear with an architectural line of unstructured tunics and pant suits
Lockdown or not, the last few months were a time of activity at The House of Angadi. The Bengaluru-based brand, renowned for its kanjeevarams, Banarasis and Kota dorias, was finalising the first collection of its just launched ready-to-wear label, Alamelu. “It is a breakaway from preconceived notions of what is considered ‘Indian’ in fashion and design,” says founder and creative director, KH Radharaman, adding, “I want to create a modern design vocabulary that is season-less, and technique- and region-agnostic.”
His engineering background is reflected in the textile manipulations. “I have always felt the need to contemporise India’s wealth of textile techniques and reinvent their design language. With Alamelu, I was able to shift the point of origin of the design process to the very beginning, to the yarn, and engineer a series of fabrics that are modern yet artisanal,” he says. With a contemporary palette — think luminous eggshell tones to jewel-like ruby — the cuts are relaxed, and play with proportions and layers. “For the first collection, we have done a tight edit of just over 30 pieces [from tops and tunics to pants]. The idea is to present a truly modern design offering for the ever-evolving woman of today,” he adds. Does he have a favourite? “While all the designs are close to my heart, my two favourites are the pant suit and our signature trench coat. They are the perfect representation of what Alamelu means to me.”
Edited excerpts from an interview:
Why a ready-to-wear label now?
Honestly, given that many of our textiles have adorned the collections of international design houses for many years now [they exported fabrics and collaborated with brands], we probably should have done a ready-to-wear line earlier. As a designer, my first love has always been Indian textiles. This is where I chose to focus my energies for the past 10 years [under my other label, Advaya], which is why the RTW brand has taken time to launch. That said, I had been thinking of this label for over a year and it is an outcome of my design philosophy and a culmination of many ideas that have built up over the years.
Inspiration behind the collection.
Alamelu’s first collection, Architexture, draws inspiration from the various ways in which Modernist architecture incorporates layers, volumes, and proportions. To me the idea of Modernism lies in the spirit of purposeful innovation and region agnostic design language. Hence I chose two distinct directions for this collection to make it truly international.
While on the one hand it celebrates the timeless beauty of the ikat technique, on the other I have created a range of never-before-seen silk fabrics. The ikats have an abstract and geometric visual vocabulary, and explores patterns ranging from Houndstooth to Yayoi Kusama-esque polka dots, all woven by hand. I have also explored surfaces through my textiles, creating textures not through pleating or other post production techniques but at the weaving stage itself.
Why ikat as a technique?
I chose ikat for Alamelu’s first collection for both emotional and practical reasons. My family and I have a lifelong relationship with ikat [my father was one of the early pioneers of using it in silk]. It is also the one weaving technique that crosses all geographical boundaries, and has multiple interpretations across the world.
Experiments with textile surfaces.
Most textiles in use today, especially for apparel, tend to be two dimensional in nature. Our surface engineering techniques transform silk yarn into three-dimensional textures, resulting in fabrics that shimmer like rippling waters, yet remain lighter than air. This has been achieved through the interplay of warp and weft, and is a new design direction.
From a business point of view, Alamelu’s design philosophy is aimed at capturing the attention of design-conscious women across the world. In keeping with this, our next steps will include international expansion through e-commerce and retail presence in strategic global locations. All of this dovetails with the overall mission to keep pushing the boundaries of Indian design.
From ₹11,900 onwards. Available at Angadi Heritage, Ensemble, and Ogaan.