Designer Naushad Ali talks effortless style and F/W 2018

Designer and founder of Studio Liam, Pondicherry, Naushad Ali, interweaves modern cuts with heritage fabrics to constantly redefine simplicity. He works closely with weavers from around the country - Kanchipuram, Chettinad, Pochampally and West Bengal - to develop his own fabrics and shape his unique vocabulary. Read our interview below:

Establishing Studio Liam in Auroville...
I worked in big cities after my graduation and the biggest learning was that I don't fit in. In 2010, when I visited Auroville for projects, I fell in love with the place and decided to stay. Studio Liam came about in 2014 in a small room in Auroville and now we are a team of 20.

‘Simple & Easy’...
I want to make clothes that people can carry easily, that feel comfortable and good. We focus on creating interesting textiles and keeping the silhouettes minimal. There is a lot of attention to detail and finish.

Developing fabrics...
The fabric is where it all starts for us. The need for us to stand apart and show my skills as a textile designer comes from love for fabric. I’m fascinated by the wide range of textiles and techniques our country has and would love to cover them all someday. My ideal goal is to someday open a weavers atelier and a weaving school in Auroville, and to teach weaving to youngsters from the villages around Studio Liam. I’d like to help create a new community of weavers.

F/W 2018 collection...
Our FW 18 collection is inspired by a small village called 'Musiri' in Tamil Nadu, where we created all the fabrics. I discovered Musiri through a collaborative project with DEF (Digital Empowerment Foundation). Simplicity and modesty still binds the people of Musiri. We were fascinated by the very essence of their culture and the small things they do to celebrate life. The captivating village landscape of muddy fields and clear sky, contrasting wall colours and lush green trees inform our earthy colour palette. The handwoven saris, temple walls and various other bits and pieces stimulated the process of fabric design. Picking distinctive elements, we have reworked stripes and checks, making it more abstract and colour blocked. The basic cotton fabric takes up a lot more weight and is quilted in interesting forms, giving it a singular style statement.


Pondicherry as a muse...
Pondicherry and Auroville are a big part of the brand, inspiring us constantly and becoming a part of the brand’s DNA. Our studio is located in the greenery of Auroville, with farms all around and a lotus pond. We get visitors who are travellers from around the globe. The beaches, colonial streets, language and lifestyle inspire the label. Over time, we have also achieved recognition as a young, sustainable label from Pondicherry.

An alumnus of NIFT, Chennai, Naushad Ali worked in the fashion retail industry before setting up Studio Liam in 2013. Defined by simplicity, innovation and a certain playfulness, the brand seeks to showcase traditional craftsmanship in the contemporary fashion arena.

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