Trendsetter: Purvasha Singh | Verve Magazine

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Interviews, art direction and photography by Asad Sheikh.

Purvasha Singh
Diploma: Bachelor of Design (Knitwear Design)
Hometown: Bhopal

How would you present your collection of graduates?
Inspired by the process of metamorphosis, which in itself is a very strong metaphor for transition, my collection Under The Vault In Our Head is a journey on this second chance at life. It’s a story of my personal growth, an embodiment of my struggle as a survivor of sexual assault, and an ode to all other survivors.

Metamorphosis – the biological process that brings about a physical transformation in some insects, ushering in a state of complete change between birth and death – is also relevant to the human mind where, in a sense, it always grows in correlation with experiences that she comes from the other side. These internal changes are often invisible to the naked eye and usually hidden inside the “vaults of our mind”. The common denominator of all species is the ability to overcome past tribulations and break the chains of those trials to grow again.

In metamorphosis, the leap from immaturity, the peak and then eventual decadent death result in five stages: ovum, pupa, larva, pupa and chrysalis.

Each look in the collection takes its place synonymously, either through physical appearance or experience. For example, the over-the-shoulder accessory in the latest look was inspired by the wing of a chrysalis. Along the same lines, the fourth set is the process of a pupa emerging from a cocoon. This, along with the first set, is one of my most structured works – the metal elements and 3D crochet are so important. The sets are a collection of hand knitted, hand crocheted, 3D crocheted, webbed, embroidered and circular knit constructed pieces.

What are the underlying concepts – the main inspirations – behind your collection?
The grief, the terror, the growth – the collection grew with me. I was developing it and evolving it simultaneously in the process. The collection features five sets of wearable art synonymous with the metamorphic stages of a fly. We see the woman overcome her past adversities and metamorphose into a sacrosanct individual. The “me”, currently.

Tell us about the techniques you used, your design ideology, and the process and details behind your favorite look from the collection.
My favorite look is the very first set, which was inspired by the structure of an egg – “the beginning”, as I like to call it. The story can’t begin without her, and so she’s crucial for the show, and for me. The look showcases a paneled bustier top with a tie back closure, paired with an ombre-dyed skirt and a warped egg-shaped metal frame.

Welded metal wires created the structure of a half-egg over which I hand-crocheted very fine wire, resulting in a floating textured shape, if viewed from a distance. The metallic edges blend into the yarn giving a very organic shape to the crochet – the reason why I also call it 3D crochet. The woman comes out of an egg – the first step, and also the most difficult in my opinion.

Conversations around personal representation are becoming increasingly important in today’s fashion world. In this regard, how would you say your work reflects who you are?
It was a very interesting journey because the series is a part of me. I was skeptical about translating such a sensitive subject into fashion but, for me, fashion is a collection of ideas and experiences. And, honestly, I was just afraid to talk about my experience. It’s a difficult process, especially when you have to relive the trauma every time you talk about your collection. But on the other hand, the story also follows an absolutely positive narrative: it is about the perseverance and personal growth of a victim of sexual assault.

Where do you see fashion going with AI and the metaverse?
The metaverse is a very hot topic right now, and one of the most exciting things outside of fashion and wearability is the case for brands to build hyper-engaged communities. Although at the moment it has to be associated with the physical because everyone is so new to space. But it’s exciting to see brands and consumers moving towards this immersive phygital world, which can be so transformative and inclusive with its vast potential.

How has the shift to digital fashion affected your creative process?
Although I am an advocate of traditional methods, the change will definitely affect my creative process in a positive way. Social media audience is so hard to market; it is very difficult to get their attention for more than 10 seconds. “Metaverse” fashion is the only way to market to this demographic. The creative process must be an exercise in adaptation, otherwise it becomes stagnant.

Do you think digital design is the answer to the fashion waste problem?
The damage is done and continuing, and it’s a far-fetched dream to expect something so new to remedy a large-scale problem that exploits on so many levels.

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