The Fiber Science and Apparel Design department hosted designer Shravan Kummar Ramaswamy for both a fashion show featuring hand-made textiles and a lecture on social responsibility in design and apparel on May 1.
Kummar, a fashion designer from Hyderabad, India, is known for his use of sustainable, organically-dyed and handloom-woven natural fiber fabrics, as well as trendy nightwear and dress designs.
According to Prof. Denise Green ’07, fiber science and apparel design, Kummar’s visit was formatted as a runway show and lecture on “social responsibility” in the textile industry, as part of the Nixon Distinguished Speaker Series.
“He opened by speaking about the importance of giving back to the weaving and craft communities he works with, thus making his designs both sustainable and socially responsible,” Green said in an email to The Sun.
According to Green, Kummar established the Aalayam Society in 2015, a non-profit that promotes training of traditional weaving methods. He also helped initiate the Aalayam Temple of Weaves in Hyderabad, a clothing store for handloom saris.
Following opening remarks, Kummar showed his first line of seven outfits, six womenswear and one menswear, made from undyed khadi, a natural handspun fiber from India.
“Without the distraction of color or textile print, one could truly meditate on the silhouette and detailed seaming and design lines,“ Green said of the collection.
In January, 16 students in Fiber Science and Apparel Design visited Kummar’s studio on a trip to India, where students learned about embroidery techniques and even tried on wedding attire, according to Green.
Following the trip and urging from Green and Prof. Fran Kozen ’72, fiber science and apparel design and Associate Director of the Cornell Institute for Fashion and Fiber Innovation, the department brought Kummar on as part of the Nixon Distinguished Speaker Series.
Kummar’s show also featured a second set of outfits made from naturally dyed handloom textiles that Green described at “stunning.”
The menswear was worn by Veshal Siwach, a professional model and Bollywood actor, who also choreographed and directed the show.