NILE: a journey through the origins of pattern.
We have landing in our new destination, EGYPT. After travelling up from the banks of Lake Victoria in Kisumu, Kenya. My design process is something that has deepened and continues to do so, an intuitive guided process that takes me to each next story this house is here to tell.
This one began with our landing in our very heart of the humble garment, the shirt. The world’s oldest preserved garment is said to be a linen shirt from the First Dynasty Egyptian Tomb at Tarkan. Dated to 3000 BC.
When this fact dropped into my vision- there was much more to this story that we would be led to. I then ventured on through the connections of the check fabrics and how they connected, all around the world.
And now, we travel upwards through the river NILE to have landed in Egypt to find a whole new story to be told.
It is that of the origin of pattern, and art. Movement.
I am sure you have heard of a period in art history called Art Deco?
There were several very famous buildings designed in this period… the EMPIRE state building, Chrysler building to name a couple… not so far from our atelier, we find the iconic Hoover Building.
Being drawn to this location, it was a symbol of homecoming for so many of us as we drove down the A40. Seeing that building on trips into London as a tourist, and then an immigrant- as soon as casting eyes on that. Knowing, okay, we’re nearly there.
So in we go on the Hoover building and it didn’t take so long to once again, end up in Egypt. Art Deco, the movement was highly influenced by the tombs in Egypt. Now I can remember being an art student, how many times Egypt was referenced when talking about the Art Deco movement- a big fat 0.
It isn’t hidden, you don’t have to look far, but it is the gaze on this that is the most disheartening, when actually I feel it’s the depth of inspiration of this style of art and this could have been, or should be something that is widely referenced and given credit to. This is much the narrative around design and art movements- which now are called to be decolonised.
As I landed in Egypt, even more so did the textile in our atelier also call. There was a cloth I picked up quite some time ago in a charity shop- the moment I found it, I thought about how beautiful it was - not really knowing a lot about it, or knowing what I would do with it. So out came this wonderful cloth illustrated with hieroglyphics. Which are now the two limited edition shirts in this collection.
Photography by Keerthana Dinesh Kunnath
The dots kept aligning, and our wonderful fabrics we purchased from our friends at CRC in India, emerged into the spotlight. With their linear block prints, looking at these zig-zags over each of the colourways… and seeing that this in fact is a symbol, a symbol of water.
The hieroglyph for the letter N, is a zig zag, and it symbolises the river NILE.
So here is NILE, a collection of shirts, jackets and basics that are based on holding the power of what a pattern is here to tell. As always, I will continue to delve into the depths of this story as we share the pieces.