Shivan Bhatiya and Narresh Kukreja of eminent fashion label SHIVAN & NARRESH talk about how travelling has inspired their designs, their take on slow travel, their favourite cities around the world and more. By Priyanka Chakrabati
What does travelling mean to you?
Shivan: Travel is a part of everything that we do! We absolutely live to explore new destinations and experience the plush geography, the reverberating culture and the rich art and architecture of every place. It is more than just a means to unwind and relax for us, but a channel of constantly drawing design inspiration as well. We enter into a new year, listing down the places we wish to discover, both in the personal and professional capacity; and happily call ourselves as one of the many crusaders of the millennial affinity to travel and leisure.
How has travelling inspired your creativity? Can you share an anecdote with us?
Narresh: Since travel is at the heart of what we do, our experiences from our sojourns across the globe become primary influencers for our design energy. The prints speak ‘travel’ in volume. A major part of our collections are reflective of our trips, namely the EdoMer Series, which was inspired from the Seychelles archipelago and 17th century Japanese Edo art, the Deccan influence as highlighted on the Koi Series and the Patu Series hugely inspired from two native art forms of India, Bengal’s Pattachitra and Andhra’s Tholu Bommalata. We try to emanate our learnings and experiences from local art and culture in our prints, silhouettes and construction techniques, while fostering a millennial holiday dream.
What has been your best 2018 holiday?
Narresh: It is difficult to pick a favourite when each one of them has left you with a unique experience. One of the trips which was the most exciting and enjoyable for us was the one to Mykonos, where we had a whole bachelorette planned for a dear friend of ours, themed in SHIVAN & NARRESH print essentials, from the first day to the last. Another was the one to the local markets of Kalighat, Kolkata that inspired the design aesthetic of our latest collection – Patu Series.
If you could pack only five things for a vacation, what would they be?
Shivan: Having been labelled as an overpacker in my social circle, it is really tough for me to pick just five. Packing requires a lot of prep, but my top five would be my phone, phone charger, sunscreen, flip flops and a flask of liqueur.
We need your fashion guidance. While vacationing in February, what are the top five ensembles one should carry?
Narresh: Every person has his/her own personal style and a lot of it depends on what kind of a traveller he/she is: he/she can either be an over-packer or one who likes to travel light. To suggest, one should always carry a pair of comfortable espadrilles because he/she can always pair them with any look effortlessly, a pair of breezy swim shorts or a swimsuit for a quick dip in the pool, a cool cover-up like a sarong or a pareo to move the holiday style from beach to bar and a bomber jacket to cheat the sun or the chills.
Do you believe in the concept of slow travel?
Narresh: Slow travel is a brilliant concept to discover a new place and live in a foreign city like a local. It gives one multitude of experiences, which he/she might miss when gliding through the location like a tourist. Millennials are often inclined towards these unique, unheard-of activities and give precedence to them over the templated list of must-dos and must-sees. Being designers, the truer essence of a destination attracts us that does justice to the humdrum of local life, and so does the world of relaxed travel that is destined to catch the eyes of quite a few.
What’s your take on conscious travelling? How would you contribute to the trend of green-travelling?
Shivan: Conscious traveling is a brilliant approach toward making travel more ethical. Holidaymakers today are more evolved than ever before. When picking activities for their itineraries they ensure that there is a holistic treatment given to the development of the local economy. They are aware of the places they are travelling to and are bringing the concept of a global citizen on the table, while being de facto ambassadors for their respective countries.
With the sustainable movement fortunately having caught on well, green travel has fulfilled us as travellers. The idea is to reduce one’s carbon footprint and make simple choices in order to reduce one’s negative eco impact on a given destination and comprehensively make a cumulative influence.
Do you think solo travelling is more enriching than travelling with a group of people?
Narresh: Traveling with friends or travelling solo is a personal choice. A lot depends on the individual and the destination of choice. If you travel with a group of people whose mindset and holiday style matches with yours, then doing so with one’s tribe would be pleasant. Whereas, certain destinations call for solo travel as their are a number of experiences that can be revelled in when one is lost in introspection, admiring the beauty of a quaint town or a bustling beach.
Which are your favourite cities around the world?
Narresh: Among all the places that we have visited till date, we absolutely loved Tokyo. We loved the fashion scene of Japan and locals’ approach to wearing unique styles, who never shy away from experimenting and setting new trends in the busy streets of the city or the Shibuya crossing — the spunky looks were a treat to the eyes.
With its treasure trove of architectural marvels, the seaside city of Barcelona bustles with its boundless culture, and food and wine scene. The seaside city is one of our personal favourite boasting of La Sagrada Familia to Cascada Fountain at Park de la Ciutadella.
A destination that you want to visit this year?
What does luxury travel mean to you?
Shivan: Finding at home in the unique local experiences that one can seldom come across in a pristine location is what I would term as luxury travel. It transcends the bounds of a templated five-star stay and holiday lifestyle, bordering the exclusive idiosyncrasies of a location that one can chance upon with the assistance from locals, while candidly enjoying the warmth and culture of that said place.