One Zero Eight by Save The Loom | Photo credit: jinson abraham/jinsonabraham.co
One Zero Eight | a conceptual space by Ramesh Menon and Alpi Boylla of the Save the Loom project
Aneeth Arora de Péro has a busy year ahead, with the sustainable fashion label’s regular rounds in Milan, Paris and New York. But the media-shy designer also has a passion project in the heart of Fort Kochi, one that has recently seen her collecting plants and bobbleheads with quiet enthusiasm. At the Njaliparambu junction in the port city, just a three-minute walk from the Basilica of Santa Cruz, stands a two-story Portuguese building where Aneeth spent several weeks last December and hopes to return soon. It houses One Zero Eight, a concept space by Ramesh Menon and Alpi Boylla of the Save the Loom project, where Aneeth retails a capsule collection and collaborates as a “part-time problem solver.”
Smita Rathore and Alpi Boylla
One Zero Eight was featured during the 2018 Kochi-Muziris (KMB) Biennale as a pop-up for Save the Loom, a non-profit organization that came together to help weavers in the small town of Chendamangalam, whose looms and media livelihoods were destroyed in the Kerala floods that year. . Ramesh, a former consultant to the Fashion Design Council of India, engaged some of the country’s leading designers to create contemporary garments from handwoven khadi from Gandhi Smarak Grama Seva Kendram in North Paravur, to help these weavers. Each designer created three or four garments to be part of the exhibition called Colors of Resilience. As for the store itself, designed by Italian-trained Himanshu Shani of 11.11/eleven eleven, it featured suspended coat racks and repurposed parts of partially destroyed looms salvaged from the deluge.
For the fifth edition of KMB, currently underway, Ramesh and Alpi have turned the popup into a permanent address. “We established One Zero Eight to bring the broader history of handmade to India, locating it in a luxurious space with ideas that encourage conversations and put the spotlight on the artisans as well as the design community,” says Ramesh. . “Their success forced us to think long term and how we could encourage and build the fashion design community in Kerala.” The reputedly 450-year-old Portuguese villa (known locally as ‘Billy and Binny’s house’), was restored in seven weeks to coincide with the launch of the Biennale. Ramesh credits Himanshu, Aneeth de Péro, and experiential designer Wasim Khan for playing “a pivotal role” in creating this new space.
Continuing the Colors of Resilience concept, they returned to the original team of celebrated designers with the hand-woven, hand-woven. world Y thorthu fabric “more like a college assignment, to see where it might take four years after the first experiment,” says Ramesh. Péro’s basic jacket —reversible “and therefore two for the price of one” according to Aneeth— stands out for its tailoring and as a tribute to the spirit of Kochi.
Perfect for the hot days ahead, with cream Save the Looms fabric on the outside, a green and white striped mushru lining woven in South India and buttons from Rajasthan. “The Kochi cloth was starched and very stiff. But what it became, with a lot of driving, was very different and beautiful,” says Aneeth.
At ₹25,000, it is already popular with European visitors to the Biennale. As well as the Mattancherry curios and artifacts that she has tucked away in little corners of this shop, Aneeth has also contributed to the garden here, choosing a clump of trees, tall palms and flowering vines “for character”.
There’s a water apple, or chambakka tree, in the backyard, planted for its glossy leaves and showy cream-white flowers promised by the gardener. And at the entrance is the Port St. John creeper that hasn’t started walking yet, purple sage, the usual suspects of hibiscus and frangipani. “Our biggest concern now? Goats! Aneith laughs.
The store features 35 designer clothing and accessories brands and five knitting cooperatives and includes names like Rajesh Pratap Singh, Gaurav Jai Gupta (Akaaro), Ujjwal Dubey (Antar Agni), Padmaja Krishnan, Naushad Ali and Uma Prajapati (Upasana). . Priced at ₹500 – ₹78,000.
From the sharp Antar-Agni and Akaaro jackets to the sustainable measures by KaSha and Padmaja Krishnan (accessories from leftover fabric to match the garment), many pieces in this store are great reminders of a fabulous festival of art. But the most affordable gifts are the big-headed Péro dolls, from a family of artisans in Madhya Pradesh, and their brooches that serve as Christmas tree charms and napkin rings.