Pradeep Pillai graduated from the NIFT in 1999 and since then he has been associated with the handspun, handwoven & handcrafted sectors and tried to create pieces which are timeless in essence, a far cry from the glamorous, seasonal nature of popular fashion that urges and tempts the customer to blindly keep on buying.
Over the years he has developed an aesthetic that is both indigenous to India and contemporary in design. Attaining a rare yet classy synergy between tradition and contemporary design, his creations can be described as 'contemporary classics’.
Presently he has been working with artisan clusters specializing in different forms of the supplementary-weft weaving technique in wild tasar silks from Nalanda and fine cottons and silks from Venkatagiri. Using these traditional techniques and indigenous materials, but with constant experimentation and research, Pradeep has created a whole new vocabulary in textile design. The combination of his unique sensibility, especially in tone and texture, with his profound knowledge of the weaving process and other textile techniques, as well as his commitment to support the craft sector has made such innovation possible.
His experiments with traditional textile processes, whether in appliqué, surface techniques or sari weaving demonstrate the critical importance of innovation which brings to the technique itself new life and energy, while transforming the possibilities of the product that makes it possible to be kept alive and be available to future generations. His work epitomizes simplicity, yet on closer look reveals his obsessive attention to detail.
Q. Define your work in THREE words
A. Contemporary-classic; Asymmetry; Simplicity
Q. Do you believe in signature style or would you rather constantly reinvent yourself?
A. Reinvent selectively, maybe partially
Q. A few emotions that impel and inspire you. Do you express the same in your work?
A. Excerpts from my travels do get reflected in my work constantly.
Q. When inspiration doesn’t flow through or when you feel stuck… what is it that you do?
A. When I get stuck, I travel in villages/small towns and end up interacting with new people, absorbing newer cultures and that really helps. At home cooking also acts as a quick fix.
Q. If you were to start a cult, what would it be ?
A. Nowadays, too many people wanting too many people following them – do not agree with this, just want to create something which brings happiness to someone, somewhere.
Q. What is the one place/ spot/ country in the world that inspires you the most? And Why?
A. India – its culture, traditions and vibrancy
Q. Tell us about your collection that will feature at the Cool Hunting Show
A. Showcasing handwoven sarees from Nalanda, Venkatagiri & Chanderi. I use a lot of geometrics, abstraction and asymmetry in my designs. The result is a completely new design vocabulary which appeals to the younger generation
Q. Finally, why are you looking forward to the Cool Hunting Show?
A. This is my first exhibition in Mumbai, so it would be a great chance to interact with a newer audience and meeting other likeminded people