Sreejith Jeevan : The Designer with a Quirky Touch
Fancy, chic ideas don’t inspire him. His style is very matter of fact, mundane; it has a touch of the earth. Memories are precious to him as are the tales heard long ago. Meet Kochi based couturier designer Sreejith Jeevan who is already creating ripples with his label Rouka.
Regarding his choice of the name, Jeevan elaborates, “Rouka is the Malayalam term for a traditional blouse, but in Japanese it means corridor. In a way, we are the corridor between those who make it and those who wear it,”
Jeevan selects his motif from his daily life and people around him: the friendly neighbourhood postman, young couples romancing under street lamps, and such like form the core of his themes and he dexterously incorporates the into his designer wear, saris and shirts.
About himself Jeevan says, “ I like to work with stories, otherwise clothes get a bit boring……..every collection says a narrative; there has to be a reason to connect with it. I can’t work with something I haven’t seen or felt or been a part of. For instance, I can’t be inspired by the Italian Renaissance because I haven’t seen it, but little things like flowers strung on the road, or the postman delivering letters get a story going on in my head.”
Jeevan studied fashion designing at National Institute of Design ( NID), Ahmedabad and later at E.N.S.A.D. in Paris. He had a stint with noted designer Rajesh Pratap Singh for a diploma project. He has also worked for Ikea a well known furniture retail brand. Jeevan’s creation was showcased at the Lakme’ Fashion Week in 2015.
Recently, at the event, Celebration of Life for Cancer Survivors’ Day, noted southern actress Regina Cassandra wore a quirky sari made by Jeevan which had the words ‘Yours Truly’ embroidered across the front of the pallu. This was teamed with a postman blouse. This presentation created quite a stir.
The hallmark of Jeevan’s style is sensibility. He is also in mindful of the humidity and the torrid heat of the Indian summer. Therefore fabrics cotton, silk and local stuff are amply used since they allow the skin to breathe. Alongside he adapts his collections to a varied audience which have divergent needs. Jeevan candidly says, “It’s interesting when you’re working in Delhi or Bombay, because the fashion cycle works so differently from here. For instance, when it’s Onam here people wear white; at the same time it’s Diwali in the North where they wear bright colours.”
Interestingly, Jeevan has been experimenting with a new format altogether, creating a new range every month.“You see, people don’t want to see the same collection over six months, so we decided to create a limited range every month with 12 simple ensembles. It has worked very well for us,” he reveals.
Having started out in a back lane in Kochi, the talented designer is already going places. Jeevan’s creations are sold in retail from Anantam in the national capital, Cinnamon in Bengaluru, and Amethyst in Chennai. Those who are interested can even buy online Pernia’s Pop Up Shop. Price of casual everyday wear hovers between Rs 2,000 to Rs 4,000, while the Indian range is between Rs 4,000 and Rs 10,000. And runaway pieces are priced at Rs 6,000 to Rs 16,000.