2018 is turning out to be a truly transformative year for me. i’ve been spending my energy building a deeper understanding of who i am and the world around me. that said, as the months have passed and as i’ve made progress with getting in touch with my authentic self, i’ve also felt what a growing void. for the longest time, i couldn’t figure out the source of this void and it almost felt inexplicable. but slowly, with time, i have been able to uncover the source of what is causing this void - a deep sense of disconnect with my roots and my culture.
in the past decade of my adult life, i have embraced rapid globalization, absorbing countless western philosophies and culture from the past and present. in retrospect, it feels as if it all happened almost subconsciously, as if i was sucked into a vacuum. but the reality is, in moments where i had to make a choice, between absorbing and nurturing my own culture vs looking elsewhere, i was consistently choosing the latter. before i knew it, i was choosing western culture over my own in every imaginable way. i was almost exclusively listening to western music. i was choosing to watch western TV and movies way more often than i watched Indian television or movies. i was wearing clothes that although were “made in India” didn’t look or feel “Indian.” in other words, my pursuit of a deeper understanding of the western and global culture resulted in the undesired trade-off of a “gradual unlearning” or “neglect” of my own.
THE WAY FORWARD
the choices i’ve made in the past decade may define who i am today and how in-tune i am with the rich traditions of my land but they definitely do not define or limit who i can be tomorrow. as i approach my 30th year on this earth, i have a choice to be lessened by this realization or empowered by it. needless to say, i am choosing the latter. i choose to be grateful for the exposure globalization has brought me and hope to absorb my own culture in a more rounded and informed manner because of it. i cannot undo choices i’ve made in the past but i can make more informed and balanced choices going forward.
with this realization, i will be making a conscious shift in the coming months. a shift through which i intend to gradually strengthen and deepen my understanding of the the ancient culture and history of my land and its people. i am hoping for this shift to be one that runs across all aspects of life, but i am particularly excited to learn more about Yoga and Ayurveda so that i can have a more holistic understanding and approach to wellbeing. i am also going to prioritize reading books about India's history and the people who have shaped it. most importantly, i am particularly driven to learn more about our diverse and rich history with fabrics and textile and work closely with people who are helping preserve, nurture, and sustain these ancient traditions.
Akira Ming is a sustainable + ethical fashion brand based out of New Delhi, India that creates hand-made designs with exquisite attention to detail. they work with 100% natural and handwoven fabrics such as ahimsa silk and mammal khaki, helping sustain these ancient weaving methods that are such an integral part of the Indian culture
they recently launched their first mens collection and sent me the Caden shirt to try out. the shirt is made out of malkha - a hand spun and hand woven textile. i still remember holding this shirt in my hand for the first time and being blown away by its softness. i was also extremely impressed by the quality of this piece and by the attention to detail and craftsmanship of the shirt. i especially loved the contrast trim that is added to the cuffs and collars, as you can see in the images above, it adds a lot of character to the piece.
as i've said several times in conversations with many of you "the clothes we wear have a story." when i wear this shirt, i feel deeply in touch with the love, attention, and care with which this shirt has been made. wearing it enables me to tune-in to the rich history of Indian handwoven fabrics as well as the wonderful story behind the brand itself.