Saris, suits, and more, Australian clothing brand Badaam is a gift.
Matisse-influences, creamy raw silk, and beautifully muted tones, Badaam came to me, as so much does nowadays, like a daydream through the Instagram algorithm. I don’t know what search keywords yielded up this deliciously soft brand so it populated my feed, but I appreciate it. Because Badaam is truly and utterly a gift.
Founder Priyanka Kaul creates textiles that pull from the handloom industry in India and blends them with her modernist aesthetic. The finished product is delicate and clean, and so so cool. I sat down with her to talk about where Badaam came from and where it’s headed.
Kajal: What’s the background of Badaam? Where did the idea come from to start the brand with a focus on sustainability?
Priyanka Kaul: It’s been an organic journey. I started dabbling in graphic design and photography realizing I needed an outlet which was more hands-on and had a physical presence. A lot of what I have been doing until now has been really conceptual. Badaam also was born out of inspiration. I saw big changes in India around handloom and sustainable fashion and felt I wanted to contribute as well. I wanted to do what I loved and help people at the same time. I think sustainable and ethical fashion is becoming a norm now rather than a trend, its something which is a no-brainer. How can you be proud of something which has unhappiness attached to it?
When it comes to sourcing the right textiles, what do you look for?
My current aim is to create textiles rather than source, this is because I like painting and adding an artistic element to my work. I look to create fabric which is natural, light and has purposeful imperfections like slumps or speckles – it just adds to that tactile, human experience which is missing in today’s digital world.
I feel like so many of your pieces have stories behind them, ones that root them in both tradition and a contemporary space. What’s your process for designing them?
Great question. I am kind of like a sponge and natural curator. I see a whole bunch of cultural things that inspire me and try to make them work together. I spend a lot of time analyzing Indian and Western art and fashion from the 50s-90s. Mid-century modern interiors and expressionist art really inspires me as well. I really want people to see the garment and feel nostalgic and feel I have encapsulated both their Indian and Western cultures.
Badaam’s saris are so, forgive me for using this word, simple in that they look like comfortable daywear clothes, and not the festooned saris women often wear to parties in the West. Is there a mission behind this? Is Badaam championing the return to daywear saris in the West?
Haha it is a slight protest. I am a bit tired of festooned Indian clothing in the West. I think we have forgotten our beauty as women. We rely on a lot of build up of glitter and sparkles to make us feel beautiful. There is richness in simplicity, art, and thoughtful fashion. Young women also tend to only wear Indian clothing (especially saris) at weddings but why? Why not have brunch in a sari? But you know to each their own, fashion is very subjective.
Being based in Australia, how much inspiration do you take from your local surroundings? How often do you visit South Asia to work on Badaam? What’s it like moving between these two spaces?
My local surroundings are a great source of inspiration, my next collection will actually be referencing some outback aspects of Australia and its quirks! I am often in India for you know, weddings, lots of weddings. This gives me an excuse to work on Badaam between nations. It’s hard working between these two spaces, there are quite a lot of misunderstandings in terms of cuts, patterns, and expectations. But this is all natural.
What do you hope customers and fans take away from Badaam? Like, when they wear your clothes what do you want them to feel?
Basically at home. I am creating garments for men and women who have been brought up with more than one culture. I want people to feel represented, creative and like they have a voice.
What’s on the horizon for Badaam? Are you planning new collections and shows?
Ah so, menswear is on the horizon. Very excited about this. I mean we already have guys who want to wear our saris and who have worn our salwars but I would like to give them more options. People should feel free wear whatever inspires them.