Fashion

Next up, FILA x NorBlack NorWhite

Find everything from colourful logo T-shirts, to jogging pants with tassels running along the leg.   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Mriga Kapadiya and Amrit Kumar are not the kind of designers whose names are attached to their brands. But if you have even a passing interest in streetwear, you will have heard of NorBlack NorWhite (NBNW), the globally inspired, print-loving brand that has been making waves for their loud, Instagram-friendly prints which modernise Indian textiles. And now, the duo is out with their first ever collaboration, with Italian sportswear brand FILA.

As far as origin stories go, theirs is one that is sure to inspire. Both women grew up in Toronto, Canada, before moving to Mumbai in 2009 and launching the brand a year later. Kumar recalls, “On a trip to Kutch, we met some amazing people and artisans. We did not have any plans in mind of starting a brand; it was more of us exploring crafts when we were out there. We came back home with some really beautiful textiles.” From there, a visit to Capsule (a trade show in Paris) saw a Japanese distributor snap up their debut collection within the first 10 minutes.

Mriga Kapadiya and Amrit Kumar

Mriga Kapadiya and Amrit Kumar   | Photo Credit: Akshay Sharma

Trail blazing

More recently, they were the only Indian brand at ComplexCon 2017, which is one of the biggest weekends for streetwear enthusiasts and sneakerheads. NBNW outfits have also been spotted on everyone from Major Lazer in the ‘Lean On’ video to Sonam Kapoor at Cannes.

They have stayed off the runway though, citing the cost involved. Kapadiya adds, “The purpose of participating in a fashion week is to increase sales and distribution, but that doesn’t happen [in India].” Consequently, when they were invited by Lakme Fashion Week in 2016 to showcase their work as part of the Indian Collective Project, they drafted friends to model. Kapadiya says that they looked at it as a “challenge” and a different format to explore.

About the brand’s style, Kumar explains that they like to “celebrate colour in the fashion space” and would like to move Indian clothing beyond the ethnic wear pigeonhole. On how the collaboration came about, she says, “FILA approached us because they really appreciated our visuals and our aesthetic.” Kapadiya and Kumar used the opportunity to look at “the fabrics we had, the classic cuts we use and what things can be redesigned or designed from scratch”. For FILA, says creative director Abdon Lepcha, it was about the customer. “We wanted to do something that had not been done in India before. At the same time, we had to find something that the market would accept,” he says.

Next up, FILA x NorBlack NorWhite

Letting go

There are other firsts as well: it marked the first time that NBNW gave up control of production, which meant that craftsmen-focussed techniques like hand tie-dying could not be incorporated. They also made their maiden foray into footwear, as they added their stamp to FILA’s iconic Disruptor shoe. Lepcha says it was about finding “a symmetry and something that both would be able to relate to”. The line, therefore, is a synthesis of the DNA of the two brands, with Kumar sharing that the silk bandhani bomber reversible tracksuit from an earlier collection is echoed in a sweatshirt this time around. For those looking to shop, there is everything from colourful logo T-shirts, to jogging pants with tassels running along the leg. The less adventurous can probably make a bandhani print sock purchase, though the graphic bandhani-inspired hoodies are another option.

That is not the designers’ favourite piece from the collection though. “We loved the way the baseball jerseys turned out. They’re mesh, with a very fun 90s silhouette,” says Kumar. FILA’s Lepcha echoes her, adding, “The anti-fit piece is awesome, and the fact that it is black makes it easy to wear with anything. Another favourite is the Disruptor, for the way that we’ve played with NBNW’s signature bandhani print at the bottom.”

The designers are tight-lipped about future collaborations, but hint that they are in talks. When pressed for whether that means a multi-season collaboration with FILA, or if it is with another brand, they demur. For now, they are excited to see this collection out in the world.

From ₹799 to ₹8,999. In select FILA stores and online on koovs.com.


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Printable version | Nov 27, 2021 8:15:20 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/fashion/next-up-fila-x-norblack-norwhite/article25688566.ece

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