Vancouver Fashion Week SS23 Interview With Designer Sujitha Shivajothi of Shivajothi (Sri Lanka/Vancouver)

Shivajothi will show on the runway at Vancouver Fashion Week on Friday, Oct. 21st, at 7:00 p.m. 
 Tix can be purchased HERE!

Bio -  

Shivajothi is a gender inclusive design label created by Sri Lankan Canadian designer Sujitha Shivajothi. The brand is characterized by its gender-neutral approach to design, intricate detailing and its embrace of slow fashion and quality fabrics. Drawn to intricate seam work, pleating and other classic tailoring techniques, designer Shivajothi respectfully attempts to weave south asian aesthetics into traditionally tailored garments. Developing compelling silhouettes and inserting a sense of femininity and flow to what has predominantly been a rigid approach to gender-neutral fashion.

The stark gendering of fashion that we see today is a consequence of outdated puritanical beliefs and capitalist expediency. Capsule: 02 moves past a simple reaction to these conditions and provides a view of the stylish and elegant possibilities that arise from genuinely abandoning the preconceived notions of what is “appropriate” to wear. This approach to design allows for the creation of timeless and original clothing uninhibited by trends or nostalgia, ensuring the longevity and sustainability of the pieces we produce. Every aspect of Shivajothi’s process is informed by the idea that fast fashion is not only a threat to our need for environmental stewardship, it poses a direct threat to the future of the artistic medium itself.

Products of Shivajothi are designed and handmade in Vancouver, BC, Canada.

Interview - 

Please share a bit about your journey to embrace fashion design as a career.

Fashion was always what I was supposed to be doing. Sometimes it is simply about accepting that and jumping right in. Having grown up during two recessions made it a nerve racking decision but at this point I can’t imagine doing anything else.

How did you learn your skills?

My foundational skill set is self taught. I have studied under Sheila Wong since since 2017 and I graduated from the Blanche Macdonald Fashion and Design program in 2020.

Who are you as a designer? Aesthetic? Customer? Brand?

I trust very few colour pallets and I have a visceral distain for fast fashion. As far as aesthetics are concerned I’m interested in weaving feminine accents from South Indian garments into classical European tailoring.

What comes easiest for you as a designer? What is hardest?

I can’t say any step of the process is easy. From conception to construction there are always road blocks. The key is to have an overarching artistic goal to guide you through.

Where do you find inspiration for new collections? How important is colour to your design process?

A lot of my designs are concepts that have sat in my mind for quite some time. New ideas tend to come from obvious places like old films and inspirational designers from past eras. Oddly enough I have woken up several times from dreams with design ideas.

Readers would love to know more about the current collection you showed at Vancouver Fashion Week.

My collections are designed with slow fashion in mind. I use a combination of hand sewing and machine sewing to bring the garments to life. The majority of the garments I create are made with high end fabrics and natural fibres. Capsule 02 leans heavily into my fascination with classic tailoring techniques and how they can be pushed to created unique design features. Ultimately, I design with the intention of creating timeless pieces that are uninhibited by era or trend. I am very excited about this collection. I feel that it is a confident and logical evolution of my debut one. 

Do you have a favourite look in this collection?

The opening look of the collection is a standout look for me. It is the vest with a grey and white cloud print with matching trousers and an asymmetrical dress shirt.

Where can readers purchase your designs?

I have several pieces for sale on my website and you can purchase garments on my Instagram page as well @shivajothi_

What's next for you as a designer and your brand?

Short films seem to be a big part of the fashion industry right now and that is something that I have been interested in.

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