“I feel like what we do with Bodice goes beyond clothes”, says designer Ruchika Sachdeva of her homegrown, six-year old brand. Replete with clean lines and modern silhouettes, the brand’s collections consist of versatile pieces that can’t be boxed into a particular category or season. “What I do with Bodice is make traditional pieces that are not easy to categorise. I like to make clothes for people who believe in self-expression through what they wear. I encourage a lot of playfulness and never want my clothes to overshadow the person wearing them”, says the designer. “At the same time a lot goes into the clothes. They exude a quiet confidence and don’t look like they’re trying too hard.”
Earlier this year, the London College of Fashion graduate teamed up with renowned Indian photographer Bharat Sikka to shoot her A/W 17 campaign and the images were nothing short of a mystical wonderland. “I wanted to collaborate with Bharat because I see a lot of value in collaborating with people who aren’t just fashion designers or fashion photographers because they tend to have a different perspective of things. They’ve explored other avenues and that gives them an edge. A unique outlook”, quips Ruchika.
Inspired by the aesthetic of her very own brand, Ruchika along with Bharat worked on the idea of the shoot and together they decided to communicate about Bodice the brand and not just the clothes in the collection. “The concept is not limited to the garments. It could be anything and it is this feeling behind the brand that I wanted to convey. The pieces that are shot are almost like classics and the entire collection is made up of pieces that I love myself and loved putting together. My main idea is that I didn’t want it to look like a catalogue. It was more conceptual.”
The entire process was extremely collaborative and has been in the making for a while. “Bharat and I had been speaking about something like this for years now. The entire process of the shoot started with the creation of a mood-board which I sent to Bharat who added his thoughts and once we decided the final look and feel we started getting things into place.” Along with a stellar team including model Komal, make-up artist Mitesh Rajani and extremely valuable inputs from Ameet Sikka, the shoot was executed flawlessly in two days. And as one can tell from the images currently out on social media and the brand’s website, it not only achieved the concept but went beyond it.
For Ruchika, who grew up wanting to make things and keep herself busy, 2017 turned out to be an extremely busy and fulfilling year. Besides shooting an extremely compelling campaign, she was also awarded the prestigious International Woolmark Prize for womenswear for the Indian subcontinent and Middle East region. “Working on the collection for the International Woolmark Prize really made me go back to the roots of making clothes. The competition really pushed me to pay attention to every single detail in the production process which gets harder to do when you become a professional and are managing a lot.” The designer spent a quality amount of time developing the fabrics, so much so that she almost became best friends with the sheep that they were shearing for the wool. “I really invested a lot of time into creating the fabrics from scratch and got to explore my boundaries as a textile designer and am extremely happy with how the collection turned out. It looks seamless and like a piece of art”, she adds.
But the International Woolmark Prize is only a valuable mark in her journey. She realises that she still has a lot that she wants to do. “I’ve stopped making plans for the big future, but I know that I want to continue doing what I’m doing and get at it and be open to different opportunities. I want to make sure whatever I do is incredible and as long as that’s there I’m sure the rest will fall into place.”
Design Log is a weekly design document logging every relevant art and design occurrence in India.