Kamal Singh who wears many hats, including musician and designer
Not too long ago when an engineer decided to become a businessman or a writer, or when a doctor thought he was actually cut out for the civil services, people would look at them sceptically and wonder what on earth they could have possibly been thinking wanting to do something well out of their field of specialisation but now such things are commonplace. What isn’t as common, though, is a theologist turning designer!
Kamal Singh set up a company called Pigflower, and Hypno Owl is his new venture, which he co-owns with his wife Tanya. “I studied theology, and after I started working, my resume just became longer and longer with all the different jobs I did,” he quips, adding: “I like drawing and making up characters. Right from my days in school, I have been drawing or designing my own t-shirts and I always wanted to do something with my ‘talent’. Now I am able to finally enjoy my work and make money from what I do best.”
The designing project took form last year. Delving into the details, Kamal informs: “We mostly focus on t-shirts but we also have cushion covers, posters, super-hot shorts and dresses, and plan to make many more things in the near future.”
Given that there is no dearth for designers in the market, according to Kamal, what sets Hypno Owl apart (aside from its quirky name, of course), is “what we design and sell is very different from what you would usually find elsewhere. We have worked a lot on the fit and fabric quality. Each design is a limited edition print. Our t-shirts are for people who are conscious of what they wear. Our pricing is also very affordable compared to other brands in our category.”
Even before he took to designing as a profession, Kamal has been making waves in the music industry. As vocalist and guitarist of renowned Bangalore-based alternative/post-rock band, Lounge Piranha, he had set aside his solo project 3 sevens for a while. But now he’s devoting more time to it along with his designing. “It’s mostly pop/alternative but I do not restrict myself. Some of the newer material is a mix of noise /pop punk and alternative rock.”
Managing one job is no trivial feat but Kamal Singh juggles both his jobs with élan, mostly because he is in love with what he’s doing. However, he admits: “It’s been difficult but very encouraging. I create things and to see people wearing what I have made is rewarding. Music has always been a very important part of my life and to know that people find strength and hope through my music is what keeps me going.”
“I’d like to have my designs available in select stores all over India, one step at a time. In the meantime, I take part in most flea markets. Incidentally, I have a stall at the The Great Indian October Fest over the weekend at Jayamahal Palace. And where my music is concerned, I’m currently working on 3 sevens, an album which I hope I can put out early next year. For now, there are a couple of free downloads online.”