NEW TO THE CLUB: QUOD NEW YORK
Meet Ikshit Pande, the designer behind QUOD NYC, a brand which brings together period femininity with classic tailoring and modern streetwear. With sharp yet unconfined silhouettes, the collections incorporate soft, flowy materials with a combination of high contrast monochromatic colors and minimal yet intricate detailing.
Ikshit, we are most excited to have you join our club! A founder’s journey is always exciting, can you tell us a bit about your personal story - What inspired you to start the brand and how did you go about this?
After graduating from the Parsons School of Design in December 2018 and completing my design internship at Vera Wang, I was looking for something that would push me as much as attending design school did after working in brand management and strategy for 8 years in India.
Before getting into school again after so long, I knew I wanted to pursue my love for fashion, design and lifestyle and fuse it with my knowledge on brand management and strategy. After graduating, I realised how fashion is majorly influenced by marketing and after an intense few years of design studies and pratical training at Parsons, Central Saint Martins and the Vera Wang atelier, I felt equppied to take the plunge and develop Quod NYC.
There's a strong vintage glamour theme in your pieces. What inspires your designs and where do you originally seek inspiration?
Men, women, people on the streets, nature, architecture and shapes, there are a lot of things that inspire me! Although I do keep going back to nature; perhaps because I was brought up in the foothills of Himalayas, there is a recurring connection to nature and of all its forces.
The brand focuses on the idea of stripping down the excess and building upon the very minimal to accentuate what may be hidden but right in front of the eye. It is about playing with the essence of our surroundings, finding new meanings in them, molding or transforming them to expose an aspect that may be hidden or never thought of. It is also about contrast; in ideas (e.g. street style—evening ball gown aesthetic), culture (e.g. New York—New Delhi), techniques (e.g. RTW—Couture), materials (e.g. formal tailoring fabrics—feminine tulle), or proportions (e.g. sharp body accentuating cuts—voluminous sleeves, flares) etc. Lastly and the most important it is about discovering the new, the never thought of, the unexplored and always moving forward by borrowing from the past.
Each designer has their own unique process for creating a collection. When it comes to designing and production, what are your main processes for creating a product?
I do not have a set process while I’m designing a collection. Almost every time I start with a different reference or process point. Sometimes it is a mood board, other times it could be a piece of vintage clothing from a pop-up market or an extract from a book. It can even a poem I may have written at some point in time (they often feature on our garments). All in all there is a lot of draping, collaging, sketching, re-draping and so on that happens. Almost never is the final collection more than 10% identical to what we had sketched it out to be- we are always doing and redoing to build on the work until each piece is where it rightfully should be.. There is a lot of intuition, and then some sleeping over that leads us to the final result. As far as production is concerned, we cut and sew all our garments in our New Delhi studio employing local artisans and craftsmen. Even knitwear is all hand-knitted in the foothills of Himalayas.
What does sustainability mean to you and why is it important to you as a Founder?
Sustainability is a very personal subject to me. Growing up in the foothills of Himalayas, it has been a way of life in my formative years where wastage was not a choice. Natural resources were scarce and justly used. As I grew up and moved to the city, I eventually adapted to the urban lifestyle but the ethos remained the same—minimal wastage, respect for where we live, and take care of the community you thrive in. Eventually while I established QUOD it also translated in providing a safe environment for people I work with and optimizing production capabilities to reduce wastage.
Sustainability, ethics and social responsibility are key to any and every brand’s DNA. How does Quod NYC integrate this into the business?
QUOD today is a 100% made-on-order, hand-made, and hand-finished brand that takes pride in sourcing locally and ensuring local traditional techniques, crafts and craftspeople are ritualistically incorporated into the ever modern aesthetic of the brand.
Finally, we’d love to hear a bit about Quod New York's collections and your own personal opinion on them. Can you tell us which are your favourite items, and how can we style them this season?
For me it has to be one of our signature Wolf Wing sleeve shirts. The one with skeleton work in front (faux pockets arranged in a pattern mimicking a ribcage). Each one takes about 2 days to finish and goes with almost everything—be it a skirt or jeans (I pair mine up with shorts). That’s the beauty of a well-designed and well-made white shirts, they are a piece you can style over and over again each time making it look new.
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