Leh Studios: A Conscious Approach To The Nuances Of Self-Expression & Personhood

Leh Studios: A Conscious Approach To The Nuances Of Self-Expression & Personhood

Bringing forth a fresh perspective in the world of storytelling through the use of cuts and stitches, Leh Studios is the talk of the town. Read on to know more about the label and its mastermind.

With progressive times, the Indian horizon of innovations has been expanding day by day, be it in terms of technology, design or fashion. With the number of individuals breaking stereotypical ideas of representation, the vision of the future is gradually changing directions and changing its focus from a product driven perspective and becoming rather wholesome. While fulfilling more than just functional needs, products and concepts are now also conveying stories through a comprehensive outlook.

Attesting to this dynamically changing narrative of the Indian fashion industry, several up and coming designers have adopted newer pathways to showcase their true potential. Speaking a language derived from the story of his life through a distinctive creative medium, Himi’s label Leh Studios has been ruffling the settled narrative of the prevalent fashion scene in the country. A design graduate from NIFT, Himi’s creative journey stems from a rather personal approach to expression.

Recalling his earliest encounters with the world of fashion, Himi mentions that fashion didn’t come to him with the much-anticipated element of glamour, but rather through the values that came with his chosen, closely knit family and personhood. Having dwelled in various cultural and geographical spheres in the country, the designer also reflects on those aspects of his life through his work.

“Personally speaking, my clothing collection is finding my own personhood. I remember dwelling amongst charity bins/thrift shops/dingy clubs in Shillong. ‘Think global, act local’ has been a hand down an approach from my dad and currently, I bring all that I have been, places I have lived, and all that I am abstractly becoming within my design. My life story circumscribes my creativity.”

Himi

After graduation, Himi moved to New Delhi and dove head-first into the intensive fashion industry, securing a design job at clothing label Madewell, which was followed by a project with Rahul Mishra and Reliance, and then also worked with Lovebirds in the early days of his professional practice.

It was only after a few years of working that Himi realised the difference between the demands of the market and what he really wanted to do. The system in Delhi, as per the designer’s observations was highly product and market driven and contrarily, Himi was being drawn towards the intricacies of the creation process, right from the story, to the meaning behind it. The process of self-discovery through the act of creating and conceptualising appealed to him over the rigorous yet exhaustive pre-destined regimen.

Telling us about the inception of Leh, Himi focused on the earnestness that came with the thought of wanting to communicate through creations.

“My conversations with my peers and frustrations snowballed into what is now Leh Studios. Leh studios did not emerge out of business plans and strategies but out of an urgency to turn our ideas (emotions/energy) regarding fashion into something tangible"

Himi

The minimal aesthetic that the label’s product line brings about is tastefully complimented with a raw yet contemporary visual language. When asked about the influences behind the same, Himi cites the cultural impact that living in Farrukhabad, a small town in the state of Uttar Pradesh, has made on the way he sees things and how he would like to showcase his creations as well.

“I really enjoy presenting the collections in unexpected contexts while often questioning the boundaries of where fashion can exist. Growing up in Farrukhabad, the cultural heritage of the city plays as a backdrop & rest all are everyday experiences & conversations with friends which adds on to build the final image.”

Himi

The distinctive look and feel of the brand’s apparel makes one curious about the process that goes into ideating them. Keeping this facet undisclosed, Himi stresses on the importance of having a process and how practice plays a big role in the making of anything - the multivariate levels of thoughts in the designer’s head balance out the narrative he wishes to put forth.

“The search for something which can bring excitement is a constant in my everyday life. For a collection, I need to push myself into a rabbit hole and find a way to bring responses through alchemy in order to create. The ideas are born disconnected, chaotic & step by step each day a final image emerges.”

Himi

While one might easily jump to conclude the influence of deconstruction on the designer’s techniques based on the raw yet authentic surface appeal - as we did initially - Himi discloses that the real reason behind the aesthetic strays far away from the aforementioned technique.

There are times when creators find the perfect balance they seek, sometimes right in the middle of the process, and that’s just the case with Himi’s aesthetic. Working with materials and their various attributes in the given time and space, a lot of the label’s creations are a result of how the designer connects with them. Stating the example of the distinctive Leh cursive alphabetic puzzle denim lace, the designer focuses on the unconventional methods of creation that give birth to entities that haven’t been imagined outside their usual niche.

Telling us about his favourite release up until date, Himi reveals the nostalgic yet mystic outlook of the collection 'Home Sweet Home', which has been inspired by the designer’s most loved apparel - a lot of which has been passed down to him by various people in his family, or have been scouted through thrift stores with the help of his brother, from New York and Shillong, thus bringing forth a rather intimate take on a contemporary aesthetic.

The collection features an urban spin on simple, classic elements bringing to life specially designed canvas linens, pyjama-like handloom Khadi denims & dead-stock fine cotton pique knit fabric.

Talking about the future, the brand is currently focusing on taking things as they come and making the best of all opportunities. In the current pipeline, the label is collaboratively working with SAY Zine, conceptualised by Bharat Sikka, an ace photographer. In the future, the designer also wishes to work with illustrious names like Rei Kawakubo, TR/ST who is a Canadian Music Producer, Eric N Mack and various other creative individuals.

Harbouring a community driven approach towards the concept of creativity and expression, Leh Studios has a rather distinctive meaning to the word culture.

“LEH Studios embodies the notion of a creative community since its inception. Collaborating with a circle of creative friends and acquaintances in presentations is integral to the brand’s DNA; it is core to what we do. An entire community of artisans has worked towards reviving the Swadeshi movement by creating fabrics like indigo or kohl khadi denim for Leh. To me, culture means communing with friends & peers & exploring the untouched possibilities with a grounded approach. I really want people to feel as if they are giving themselves a gift in the form of my work.”

Himi

Housing a contemporary approach towards creation while also imbibing the values of consciousness, Leh Studios has been revolutionising the face of the extensive fashion industry in the country and bringing about a fresh narrative through their perspective. Head over to their official Instagram and take a closer look at their wonderful creations!

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