Mumbai-based Padmaja Krishnan is an internationally recognized textile and fashion artist with a quirky and truly original sense of design. Her fashion and textile “laboratory” –Transit Design – creates authentic, non-confirmative clothing. She was an India finalist in the 2008 young entrepreneur competition of the British Council and her work has been exhibited in the UK, Japan, the U.S. and China.
Hello Padmaja, can you tell us what a typical day is like for you? Meditation-yoga-mailing-cooking-thinking-eating-cleaning-mailing-nurturing my daughter-planning-drawing-drafting-training/inspiring (my team)-eating-writing-answering (the phone)-answering(the enquiries)-answering(the doorbell)-cycling/playing with my daughter-dreaming-reading-drawing-listening to music-cooking-eating-mailing-reading-sleeping.
Do you enjoy your work? When I work the only person I seek to please is myself. When I make something that surprises, shocks, delights, inspires, challenges me it works for everyone else as well.
How did you make the step to independent design and art? When I started I wasn’t too sure what I wanted to do. I only knew what I didn’t want to do. And by method of elimination I made a leap to independent entrepreneurship. A conscious realization came only much later that I always had a strong inclination to work with communities, to integrate traditional handicraft and traditional wisdom with modern sensibilities, to challenge my own notions and understanding of clothing, to work with natural processes and natural materials, to work with my own hands.
How do you keep focused on doing something unique, creative and true to yourself? What is your approach to design?To relook at all that’s useless and discarded, to choose techniques that are slow and not fully controllable, to look for effects in defects, to find the weakness of the machine, to use repeats that are bigger than the field of vision or just to cheat the unsuspecting eye are some of the ways I use to break the tedium of mass manufacture and to create subversive, avant garde clothing that can be labeled classic and quirky at the same time.
With a design approach that is precocious, wicked, and yet, without any heaviness, very serious, I maintain a couture-handwriting that is unique and beyond the superficially elegant. In my designs, tradition is deeply respected even as it’s brought into a close dance with the contemporary and the futuristic: a frayed hem left open refers simultaneously to the weaver’s loom in mid-shuttle, to grunge, to old Vreeland saying `never explain, never apologize.’
Do you have one tip/piece of advice for other aspirant creatives and entrepreneurs? Be real…follow your own heart…make things that please you and in ways that you truly feel good about…leave tips, trends for others.