Soneva partners with sustainable Indian fashion brand Rahul Mishra

Soneva has announced a partnership with sustainable Indian fashion brand Rahul Mishra.

During the partnership, that will run from January to December, Rahul Mishra will develop a new collection inspired by Rahul’s stay and personal experiences at Soneva Fushi: The Soneva Collection by Rahul Mishra. The new collection will be launched at the Indian Couture Week 2020, in the last week of July.

“One often needs to step away from home to look at it from a different lens. The privilege of travel enables the genesis of fresh perspectives and fuels us to look deeper within ourselves.

On a recent trip to Soneva Fushi, Maldives, as I submerged myself quite literally, into an unfamiliar world, a series of stark realisations dawned upon me. Mesmerised by the million shades of blue, the ever-changing abstract shapes made up of a diaspora of fish, the alienesque underwater foliage and the striking corals, it was a mammoth task to register the beauty unfolding before me — an experience that was equal parts surreal and humbling.

The endless sky and the vast blue of the ocean staring right back at you, lends a clear sense of scale to the conscience. I have explored the notions of a habitat enveloped in memories, the subtleties of nostalgia guiding my past collections. But the current reality of it all is daunting to say the least.

My four-year-old daughter, Aarna, longs for a clear blue sky as pollution levels in New Delhi, the capital of India, are alarmingly high. We are confronted by the very outcomes of our own actions. There is no beauty in what is transpiring around us today, but the vivid imagery of the planet, virginal and untamed, serves a keen sense of optimism and paints a neat portrait of every ounce of life we are losing with each passing second. I recall watching Madagascar, the animated movie for the umpteenth time with my daughter. She is amazed by the plants and the animals that formulate the ecosystem of a massive jungle, and so am I. We travelled to the foothills of the Himalayas and were in the pristine presence of wilderness.

These distinct experiences shaped my approach to clothes this season, as we mark our debut in the haute couture calendar.

Entire ecosystems have been crafted out of delicately hand embroidered flora and fauna. We have pushed to discover new frontiers in our exploration of three-dimensional embroidery that lends a distinct shape shifting essence to the silhouette. With pieces that have taken more than five thousand human hours to make, the collection marks a big leap for us as we establish our codes.

The last seasons have witnessed a growth of 50 per cent in business with a drop of 10 per cent in production numbers. We are reducing the quantity of clothes we produce whilst growing as a business that employs more than a thousand artisans from the Indian craft community. The slowness enables us to incorporate a natural human pace to the process of creation, the biggest luxury of the moment.

A foray into couture is a conscious decision lead by an intention of catering to a demand for our fashion in replacement of having to create the demand. Articulated with the love for all people involved and value for environment at large, great strength is found in the process.”

– Rahul Mishra, on the inspiration for The Soneva Collection.

Rahul made his debut in 2006 at Lakme Fashion Week with a collection using cotton handloom textiles from Kerala. In 2009, he made reversible dresses, using Kerala mundu on one side, with Banarasi fabric woven by traditional craftsmen on the other side.

Since then, he has showcased his work at fashion weeks in London, Dubai and Australia, and is regular on the official calendar of Paris Fashion Week. He is known for incorporating traditional Indian textiles, and handmade artisanship to his work.

In 2013, he won the Indian segment of the International Woolmark Prize, going on to represent India and the Middle East at the 2014 International Woolmark Prize Competition in Milan, which he went on to win.

Rahul’s award-winning capsule range, The Lotus Effect, incorporated hexagon shapes and lotus motifs. The collection used Chanderi fabric woven with Merino wool with woollen embroidery by craftsmen in Kolkata. The collection was influenced by the monochromatic work of Dutch graphic artist Maurits Cornelis Escher.

The award has been previously won by designers Karl Lagerfield, Giorgio Armani and Yves Saint Laurent.

With two flagship stores in India, Rahul’s thriving national and international distribution channel is based on the idea of sustainability, and that fashion is a tool to create participation and empower the craft community.

Rahul’s purpose defines the process. The slow process of hand-weaving and hand embroidery allows them to build sustainable livelihoods for more than 1,000 artisans. They work in close association with the Ministry of Textiles in an attempt to sustain the storied heritage of Indian crafts. They are a design house that works on the philosophy of the three Es — Environment, Employment and Empowerment; looking at luxury from the lens of participation, not just consumption.

In 1995, the award-winning luxury resort Soneva Fushi set the standard for all desert island barefoot luxury hideaways in the Maldives. Located in the Baa Atoll UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, Soneva Fushi pairs the Robinson Crusoe fantasy with intelligent luxury.

Stay in one of the 63 private villas, ranging in size from one to nine bedrooms. Each comes with their own stretch of beach, most have their own pools, and are hidden amongst dense foliage within touching distance of a pristine coral reef.

As of May, Soneva Fushi will have eight new Water Retreats, bringing the total number of villas to 71. These one- and two-bedroom overwater villas all have their own pool, retractable roofs and water slide into the ocean below.

Intuitive service is provided by Mr./Ms. Friday butlers.

Soneva in Aqua is a luxury two-cabin yacht that sets sail from Soneva Fushi, it can be chartered for bespoke diving and snorkelling excursions.

Highlights include the open-air Cinema Paradiso, exploring the cosmos at the high-tech Observatory, the home-made chocolate and ice cream rooms, five hundred wines to choose from, nine different restaurants both on the island itself and at Out of the Blue, the two-storey overwater structure, and countless destination dining options. Explore the treasure trove that is the children’s Den, that comes with a Lego room, dress up room, two pools, a water slide and more. There is a multi-purpose facility that encompasses the Maldives’ only hot glass studio, the glass gallery, and boutique where guests can learn the art of glassblowing.

If the experiences are magical, the philosophy is simple: No news, no shoes. No pretensions either.

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