Coinciding with Photo London, the London-based designer has created two garments alongside Magnum Photos and photographer Sohrab Hura, whose images capture a changing India
Indian photographer Sohrab Hura, who lives and works in New Delhi, had not heard of Kiko Kostadinov when the London-based designer approached him to collaborate earlier this year. In fact, he didn’t know much about fashion at all: “This must be my first comment on fashion and I feel a bit awkward about it,” Hura tells AnOther over email, having subsequently agreed to the project. “I must sound like an idiot!”
The fruits of their labours – a limited-edition hoodie and a T-shirt – will be revealed this evening at Dover Street Market London as part of the store’s celebration of Photo London, which opened to the public this morning. One of Hura’s photographs appears on each garment: a half-hatched bird from his series The Lost Head and The Bird on the T-shirt, and an overexposed portrait of a young man on India’s coastline from The Song Of Sparrows In A Hundred Days Of Summer on the hoodie.
Kostadinov first encountered the Bengal-born photographer’s work through Magnum Photos, the monolithic photographic agency and third collaborator on the project, of which Hura is a member. “His portfolio was the one that resonated the most with me at this given moment,” Kostadinov says of the discovery. “I was interested by the harshness of his images which is balanced with these really romantic elements.”
The seeds for the collaboration, though, were sown several months prior: Kostadinov’s cerebral Spring/Summer 2019 collection, shown in Soho’s China Exchange last June, looked towards Hura’s home country of India. Specifically, two of the country’s cinematic milestones: Jean Renoir’s The River (1951) and Satyajit Ray’s The Apu Trilogy (1950–1959). They led the designer to imagine a town on the bank of the river Ganges and the assortment of characters who might reside there, the clothes themselves evoking the country with a melange of Madras checks, ornate costume jewellery and earthy, sun-beaten colours. “It was a new direction for me,” Kostadinov says.
Hura’s photographs, then – which Kostadinov calls a “raw representation of Indian summer” – felt serendipitous, and the sense of affinity went both ways. “When I looked Kiko up I found his colours to be quite soothing, but at the same time within the quietness of those colours there seemed to be a kind of silent brutality that never really allowed me to settle,” Hura says. “I found resonance in that oscillation within my own work process.”
Of the photographs themselves, each is quite different, says Hura: “The Song of Sparrows in a Hundred Days of Summer looks at life in a village in central India at the peak of summer, while The Lost Head & The Bird tries to catch the pulse of the undercurrents of a new normal in India where violence and aggression is on the rise.” The latter idea will be further explored in Hura’s upcoming book, The Coast, a fable-like tale set on the Indian coastline written by Hura and narrated by his photographs of the past few years.
Today, the T-shirt and hoodie go on sale at Dover Street Market London; this evening, they will make up a part of the store’s celebration of Photo London, which also sees launches from photographer Harley Weir, make-up artist Thomas de Kluyver, and others.
Kiko Kostadinov x Sohrab Hura / Magnum Photos is available at Dover Street Market London now.