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Fashion, not pretension – The New Indian Express

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KOCHI: On the eve of four long years at the National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) in Chennai, Caroline Joseph admitted that being a fashion designer did not quite fit the ideals of a imperishable world. She had to step out, to a different mental paradigm – a paradigm driven by the realization that the fashion industry is the second biggest pollutant in the world, after oil.

Fashion, for Caroline, was not just about sustainability, it was about conscious consumption. Also intrigued by the art of storytelling through fashion, she moved to Auroville in Pondicherry where she spent two years working as a stylist for a slow and conscious fashion brand.

Years later, Caroline has developed a repertoire with some of the biggest names in fashion leading the sustainable wave, including Swara – Voice of Women, an organization that works with women from Durgapur, Studio Malai, Salt Studio, Save the Loom. and Tilfi Banaras, to name a few.

Tilfi Banaras painted kerala royalty in a disparate way in a collection titled ‘Thamburatti’, Swara woven a narrative of looking beyond ‘pretty’ faces and brought together women of different ages . Caroline’s signature palette – moody and earthy with a touch of greenery symbolizes mindfulness and sustainability.

“A year ago, when I came back to Kochi to freelance and create an identity for myself, I thought to myself that the term ‘stylist’ was mainly reserved for someone only involved in dressing models. In my opinion, the era of creating beautiful images and great outfits just for social media is long gone. Images contain stories and those with a voice create a powerful wave.

Therefore, I try to create intimate narratives with a mixture of elements. My campaigns have always been about stories, which end up becoming the face of a brand. For example, in Thamburatti I invented the tale of two sisters – Parvathy and Lakshmi, against the backdrop of the Kerala landscape, their spirits stronger than other showcases of royalty in the palaces, ”explains the young woman of 24 years.

Find her work on Instagram @_its_me_caroline.

Fashionable education unlearn
For generations, the women of the House of Caroline have been adept at sewing clothes. Needless to say, Caroline picked up the contraption at an early age. “But when I got into fashion deeply, I learned the consequences of the business. Once you realize that it contributes so much to pollution, you can’t ignore it. In addition, fashion has exploited work. After having been heavily invested in the industry for 20 years, I had to find a distinct reconnection, ”explains Caroline. While fashion school has taught her to find references and work around them, Caroline feels the same loss of authenticity. “I find out about the concept, then I look at the location and logistics, I set your focal point and your setting,” says Caroline, who recently became a set designer for the short film “Soldier in the Trench” with Prayaga Martin.

Isolation creations
Caroline’s ‘Isolation creations’ photo essay, incorporating vegetables as subjects, went viral during the lockdown. “I returned to Kochi with a plan in mind, to revamp my strategy, but the pandemic changed the outlook. During the lockdown, I experimented with photography, photographing the most mundane things in the house. Later I realized that even a vegetable or a glass of milk mattered a lot – these were captured in diffused, natural light, with a warm color palette ”.
she says.

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