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A strapping kick out of KIKI

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Kishor Krishnamoorthi upgrades camera straps with Pochampally ikat and blockprint fabrics, ensuring you look great behind the lens too

When we go on holiday or just up to the terrace to catch that perfect shot, the comfort we feel as we carry our camera is kind of sidelined. Only later do we realise the awful chafing that comes from Rexine, an artificial leather — and added irritation we do not need. That’s when photographer Kishor Krishnamoorthi and his design-minded wife Mandakini came up with a timelessly trendy alternative: integrating Pochampally ikat and blockprint fabrics into the game.

Conceptualising the idea at the start of 2017, the rigorous process of prototyping and testing, finding suppliers and creating samples have now led to a crowd funding campaign, kicked into gear on Indiegogo, rallies for $25,000 to further enliven this creative movement.

Stylish and purposeful

With 12 designs to suit a variety of sensibilities, the name KIKI, a possible portmanteau of the partners’ names, was culminated. “I wanted to test the durability of the fabrics before evolving it into a full-fledged idea; how much weight it can carry, how durable it is and, of course, if the designs and prints can hold up. The width of every KIKI camera strap can be adjusted to suit your preference; a wider strap for your shoulder or a narrower strap for your neck. The width ranges from a convenient two inches to a generous 12 inches.” The artisan-made fabrics also come from Mandakini’s fabric design house in the city, Kolam.

KIKI straps also come equipped with the universal 10mm ends which are compatible with every major camera that is manufactured. They have been tested on cameras of all brands and sizes of cameras, from compact ones like Fuji X100T and Sony A7R2 to the larger sized ones like Nikon D5 and Canon 1Dx Mark II.

So that’s when Kishor used it in his own work; at a shoot two months ago, he changed the straps as per his own ensemble — a move which caught many eyes. The breathable fabrics are also sweat-absorbent, making it a fashionably purposeful accessory for the everyday camera-phile.

Future-minded

Kishor also travelled to various countries where the strap proved effective at keeping him warm in the chilly winds of Paris and just as nifty at absorbing sweat while keeping things airy in the sweltering Indian summers.

There’s a green philosophy about KIKI’s camera straps. The sustainable and renewable qualities about cotton make them environmentally-friendly throughout the fabric’s life-cycle.

The label is also evocative of ‘Make in India’ with its support of Telangana’s handloom industry, according to Kishor, who adds, “The philosophy of KIKI is to rethink the way we use traditional Indian fabrics. These stunning materials and designs are all made by skilled artisans and I am truly excited at being able to incorporate them in the wardrobe of photographers worldwide.”

We often peruse sites like Pinterest to see what else is out there, so with KIKI coming about, the idea looks to keep them affordable and accessible to young people as well, locally and globally. After all, the brands which promise straps of genuine leather and other lovely materials require a real dig into our pockets.

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Printable version | Jan 23, 2020 7:14:32 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/fashion/a-strapping-kick-out-of-kiki/article19698608.ece

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