NBNW Shakes Hands with Marcelo

NBNW Shakes Hands with Marcelo

FTC caught up with NORBLACK NORWHITE founders, Mriga Kapadiya and Amrit Kumar, to talk about their labels journey and their collaboration with one of the biggest names in the world of football.

NORBLACKNORWHITE is a brand that pushes the envelope and boundaries through their colourful styles and aesthetic designs.

Founded by Mriga Kapadiya and Amrit Kumar, the brand has made a name and place for itself in a short duration of time. Born and bought up in Toronto, Kapadiya and Kumar met each other while hanging out in a mutual friend’s garage. Their shared passion for colourful aesthetics and love for remixing traditional Indian textiles and patterns instantly bought them together.

Mriga and Amrit photographed for Dazed Magazine
Mriga and Amrit photographed for Dazed Magazine Bharat Sikka

We found a peace together in being the brown girls in Toronto who loved Rekha and all that she embodies along with loving Missy Elliot and the appreciation for diversity that makes up some of Toronto culture. After university we were both working in an advertising agency during the day, where we’d share homemade lunches and eye rolls of our day jobs while feeding our souls by throwing art shows and festivals, producing shoots and re-working with vintage after office hours and on weekends.

Mriga and Amrit

The duo's inclination towards their Indian roots motivated them to travel across India and helped them better understand the culture that surrounded various Indian crafts. NORBLACK NORWHITE was born from a trip to Kutch, Gujarat to study the art of tie-dye, specifically “Bandhani”.

There was no set intention of creating a clothing brand or cultural platform but one thing led to the next and NBNW started coming alive during our early years living in Bombay, as a space for us by us, mashing up our love for colour, patterns, textiles with the 90’s aesthetic that we were raised in while unapologetically celebrating the multiple cultures & immigrant communities we identify with.

Mriga And Amrit

NORBLACK NORWHITE represents the grey area in between the two black and white extremes that exist in cultures and clothing.

We are storytellers, documenting cultural movements, age-old practices and colour in fun and digestible ways, currently expressing our feelings through textiles

Mriga and Amrit

The Empress Way Collection
The Empress Way Collection

The labels lookbook's display collections with whimsical names such as Hyderabad Hunting, The Empress Way, Unicorn Love, Holi Jouvert, Way up, etc. With concepts and inspirations that are unique and different from what we conventionally see in the fashion world, the two traits that are common are the bright colours and patterns that are prevalent throughout the designs.

Every NBNW collection is inspired by people, nature and the streets. Growing up in an artistic community filled with writers and thinkers helped develop the duo's intuitive designing abilities and solidified the belief of learning through creation.

The Holi Jouvert Collection
The Holi Jouvert Collection

We are big fans of colours and textures and sounds of colours with obviously an undeniable love for a classic, crispy patterns of black and white. We’ve been raised amongst a solid community of artists and thinkers in Toronto as well as Bombay and now thankfully all around the world and they keep us motivated and inspired daily.

Mriga and Amrit

NBNW x Mangopeeler
NBNW x Mangopeeler

In terms of collaborations, NBNW has worked with numerous brands and individuals to create some exceptionally unique capsule collections.

To name a few, their collaboration with Mangopeeler, a Toronto based athlete-artist, saw the production of limited edition Adidas Originals classic shirts.

NBNW x FILA
NBNW x FILA

Additionally, the NBNW and FILA collaboration was a colourful take at the normally monochromatic aesthetic of the sportswear and apparel brand.

NBNW x Budweiser
NBNW x Budweiser

NBNW also worked with Budweiser India on a march collaboration to celebrate their support in the emerging Indian streetwear scene. This particular collaboration caught the eye of Bud Global and the brand was then approached with a once in a lifetime opportunity to collaborate with Copa90 - a global informative platform that celebrates football and its fans, and a chance to work with world renowned footballer, Marcelo!

When paired with Marcelo for this project we got excited because of the similarities we face in our journey. We are children of Indian immigrants, who grew up in Toronto but moved back to India to represent our love and understanding of creating our own third culture story.

Mriga and Amrit

Brazil pro-footballer, Marcelo Vieira da Silva Júnior, is known to play for Real Madrid and holds a record for playing 12+ seasons with the Spanish football club - the longest a foreigner has ever been played for the team. The success stories of NBNW and Marcelo have a lot in common. Coming from a humble background, growing up in Brazil, football was a big part of Marcelo's life - as was his grandfather, Pedro. Although his mother did not support his love for the sport, the athlete states his grandfather was always there to back him up and has been a huge inspiration in his life.

It is inspiring to see Marcelo's coming of age story play out highly supported by his access to multiple cultures and the belief of his grandfather to stay motivated and aim to overcome all possible obstacles while creating a new path. These designs have been created keeping all of these elements at the core of our thinking.

Mriga and Amrit

Being a football player himself, Pedro became Marcelo’s advisor, supporter, friend, teacher, confidant and was a father figure to him. Pedro was a driver by profession and to support his grandsons football career, he sold his car and used the money to cover the expenses. NBNW’s collaboration with Marcelo is also an ode to his grandfather.

The bomber jacket was specially designed to honour both Marcelo and Pedro and features a custom emblem inspired by the stamps that are seen on large fabric rolls in the Indian market. The classic stamp format was further fused with elements that represented Brazil, Spain, India, Real Madrid and Marcelo’s lucky number 12.

We focused on signature NBNW custom fabrics that considered the colours & prints Marcelo is likely comfortable to wear while celebrating our aesthetic. We fell in love with the story of his grandfather being a quintessential reason he is where he is, and wanted to honour him, the bus route he took & the car that he sold in order to be able to continue going to practice as he was growing up.

Mriga and Amrit

The design process was undertaken in collaboration and with inputs from Marcelo as well. The brand further discloses the sheer delight in working with the humble and gracious athlete.

He was super chill, humble and gracious with his energy and love the design process and the final piece! Experiencing him at his house and also in his second him the football stadium was WILD to see the contrast! His job is performed in front of millions of people and he seemed as humble on the field as he did in person.

Mriga and Amrit

A collaboration of this magnitude has definitely set Nor Black Nor White apart and put the label as well as India on the global map. It is the epitome of a success story for up and coming Indian streetwear labels for times to come. The label talks about their plans amidst the unfortunate pandemic, and what we can expect from them in the near future.

We had some amazing projects coming up this month itself, but now with the madness that is this COVID-19 situation, who knows what’s going to happen cause everything has been put on hold or cancelled. For a small business like us, we can’t make big future plans without confirming how we are going to pay our teams salaries and our rent in the coming months when the economy in its entirety feels like it is on lockdown. We have been working through how NBNW as a platform is our baby and how and what the next part of this journey is gonna manifest into.

Mriga and Amrit

NORBLACK NORWHITE over the few past years has gone from a small 3 person operation to collaborating with global giants, all the while making a strong impression and name for themselves. Every brand contributes to the current "culture" in its own way, the label speak out about what culture means to them and what their brand stands for.

It’s our truth. Immigrant life, the concept of identifying with multiple stories, cultures and environments informs how we think, create and operate in this world. We are continually learning and evolving how we see things and appreciate the many ways a similar experience can vary is based on its’ cultural context. It’s a privilege and a blessing yet and a constant negotiation. It is 10000% affects how we create.

Mriga and Amrit

The label unabashedly expresses their truth and their way of looking at things is undeniably unique and sets them apart. Head on over to their website to check them out.

No stories found.
For The Culture
www.ftcftcftc.com