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My name is Madhuri Ramakrishnan. I am an interdisciplinary fashion designer from India. I specialised in knitwear design in my undergraduate studies. Most of my work has been in womenswear. I have now expanded my practice into the areas of sustainability and fashion futures. I love being able to create but I strongly believe in the fact that design should not have a negative impact on others. Empathy is a key value in my approach to design.
I completed my undergraduate degree in knitwear design from India’s premier fashion institute – National Institute of Fashion Technology. Upon the completion of my undergrad, I worked at a knitwear export house in Mumbai.
I was initially looking to do an MA in womenswear, but I soon realised that in some way I was lacking the knowledge and skill required for it. The Graduate Diploma course seemed like the perfect steppingstone. What I liked most about this course was the fact that it did not have any boundaries. It allowed me to explore many avenues within the realm of fashion so freely.
My fashion practice has developed multi-fold. Right from the way I consume fashion to the way I produce it. I have learnt a lot more about being able to study and research fashion. Being able to borrow visual cues and understand where they came from or why they are used. It has also really helped me to broaden my vision and perspective of fashion.
This course has helped me learn so much. It taught me to have a more holistic approach to research. I learnt to let the process guide me to the outcome in the projects I undertook. This course also gave me the freedom to explore many avenues of fashion, that I would have otherwise never done. Through this course I came to realise where my interests truly lay – fashion and sustainability.
“Postcards from a T-Shirt” is a research led project which follows a T-shirt on a journey through its production process, narrated from the point of view of the t-shirt. It presents the reality of the fashion industry with thoughtful attention to the individuals involved at each stage of the process, from field to wardrobe. I wanted to shine light on the many hands involved in the production process and add a face to those otherwise ignored. Whilst educating the consumer it also places an onus on them to invest emotionally in the t-shirt. In this project I subverted the meaning of the many elements of a postcard and used the postal system as a method of distribution.
From a research standpoint I had many areas to focus on. The theoretical research constituted a large chunk of that – research of the intricacies and facts of the production processes. The visual research continued alongside. I studied the design structure and layout of postcards and its visual language in the countries I showcased. I treated each element of a postcard separately and subverted them.
My outcome was more fashion futures led. I created a set of 12 postcards – each postcard from a different stage in the production process of a t-shirt, narrated by the t-shirt. I subverted the many elements of a postcard individually. I created the stamps on each postcard to match the visual language of its country. In a way I even designed the text of each postcard, humanising the T-shirt. The project is designed in a way that the postcards are received by the consumer in tandem with the production timeline of a T-shirt right from the sowing of cotton seeds to its purchasing in a store. It would come as a shock to the consumers as they continue to receive these postcards unknowingly and hopefully resonate with them and influence their future consumption or the lack thereof.
My plans on a larger scale would be to work for a company within the realm of fashion and sustainability. Be it on a research level or design level. I really want to be involved in doing work that makes a difference. In the mean while I hope to work in the industry to gain more real time experience and exposure. I also plan to continue working on my final project “Postcards from a T-shirt” and see where that leads me.
My advice to potential students of this course would be to simply keep an open mind. Start a project without any idea of the result, go where the process takes you, and the result will truly amaze you. You never know what project you will stumble upon and what the result would be.