Devika Dass is a new brand stocked at Feather’s boutique, so we thought we would introduce you all to it and the ethical production of Devika Dass’s knitwear. Below includes an interview and a short bio/ethos on the brand…..
“The idea for the business came from a trip in 2012 to South America, finding a knitting circle of incredible women in a remote part of Peru, who were literally knitting to survive. I was amazed by them: their skills and as women trying to preserve this ancient Andean tradition. It was from here that it all began and I started to develop some swatches with these women.”
Devika says “ I remember looking for an opportunity, I wanted something that would work both creatively and financially, but also be in a position to be able to give something back; I didn’t want the circle to end with me. I wanted to be in a cyclical chain where I knew where I was giving back and to whom. The women I met in a remote part of Peru seemed to fit the idea of what I had been looking for. There were no factories or machines, just collectives of women in these incredible hats and their 20 layers of petticoats knitting together, some with their children.”
For Devika Dass’s own line she wanted to go back to organic and traditional production practices. Centuries ago the Inca’s didn’t write their stories, they told their stories by tying pieces of wool. Working in these ways these women were similarly telling their stories through their knitting. “I was overwhelmed by the way the women worked and the quality of their hand knitting, I immediately put some samples into work with them.”
Devika Dass wanted to re-create the connectivity she saw between the women and their work. She wanted her wearers to experience connectivity with her knitwear, whether it is aesthetically through the story or sensually through the feel of the garment. She has described an intimate relationship with her pieces of knitwear. “For me knitwear has been something which has always felt safe, cosy and slightly cocooning; almost a return to the womb. Out of anything else in my closest it was my pieces of knitwear that I had the most intimate relationship with, because of the feelings they would invoke just simply by wearing them. This was the idea behind the souring of the yarns, I had to find something very precious to invoke the wearer in this way.”
A stylistic approach to a new line of luxury knitwear for women with a focus on the philosophy behind how each garment is produced, which Devika sees as being integral to the experience of designer, producer, garment and wearer. Turning away from typical mass manufacturing techniques and channels. Devika works with only the most skilled local Peruvian craftspeople in traditional knit techniques, together celebrating the idea of artisanal skill and creating extraordinary pieces. It was through the stories of these incredible women knitting the first samples that gave birth to Devika Dass.