Dinesh Kumar’s roots run deep. They travel back into the place of his birth and childhood, down into a lush coastal state tucked away in South-East India- the mystical lands of Karnataka. Etymology suggests that the name Karnataka roughly translates to “Elevated land.” Sprawled across gorgeous, rolling plateaus resplendent with waterfalls and greenery, Karnataka contains exciting history and a rich cultural legacy Dinesh tapped into while creating his wearable art installations that made a splash at Pearl Academy. His creation found its way as a deserving feature in the college’s latest advertising campaign and also won accolades at the World of Wearable Art in New Zealand!
A post-graduate student of Fashion Design, Dinesh’s creativity uses the body and clothing as its primary outlet for expression. For this particular piece, proudly featured in Pearl’s most recent advertising campaign featuring a series of striking student body work, Dinesh drew inspiration from architecture and patterns unique to the temples of his homeland.
“These temples are masterpieces of Dravidian architecture, testimony to the high levels of art that existed in bygone eras,” Dinesh says. “Their basic structural elements, especially the intricately carved gateways and towers, have completely informed my work.” Temples crafted under the distinctive south Indian style are chiefly characterized by its gopuram (tower) that consists of progressive, smaller stories of pavilions. They are square, pyramidal in shape, littered with porches (mandapams) and pillared halls, (chawadis) all of which Dinesh has painstakingly replicated through colourful paper and fabrics.
Equally important to structural intricacy is the technicolour feast that is served. “The psychedelic beauty of these temples is visually captivating. It commands attention.” Dinesh explains as a matter of fact. The rainbow interplay of colour displayed by Dinesh’s project casts a spell-binding effect on viewers. It holds sway over one’s gaze and imprints consciousness with recursive, hyperreal patterns inducing a state of visual trance.
“These temples are sacred places, home to ritual and divinity that defines Hindu spirituality. It physically represents transcendence.” Clearly, his art work merges these themes of divinity and transcendence with the site of the human body- literally ‘elevating’ the ordinary human form and transforming it into a site of sacrality.
“I have always been connected and in tune with Nature.” Dinesh says, touching upon his childhood and love for horticulture. “I was raised on farmlands and took great pleasure in planting seeds to see flowers, fruit and plants grow. Nature soothes my senses and is my muse. She shows me how to blend colours together and achieve effortless flow in form.” Things that appear seemingly insignificant or plain to others have the power to ignite Dinesh’s imagination in dramatic ways. “Broken glass. Tiny schools of fish. River stones. The shells of beetles. Nature offers me inspiration for visuals. I translate everything that impacts me into my design work.”
While speaking to Dinesh, it is quickly discovered that he perceives his environment with a mild synesthesia- not uncommon for those with artistic sensibilities. The world is a magical place, lavish with flowing lines, textures and fractals, interacting in infinite ways. It is bursting with life, never dull or monotonous. “I push myself to think in novel ways to design, cut and colour,” says Dinesh. “I like to adorn the body, create vivid, wildly innovative silhouettes. Pearl has allowed me to push the boundaries in thinking what it means to be a fashion designer. Fashion doesn’t always have to functional, we forget that fashion can be art, just for the sake of art. I am deeply thankful to be given the freedom and opportunity to explore the, dazzling and experimental facets of the Industry while keeping myself firmly grounded in proven technique and theory.”
Students like Dinesh Kumar form the lifeblood of Pearl Academy. We take pride in helping them focus their innate gifts and provide their passion with the structure, industry skills, guidance and resources necessary to make an impact in the world. They do so in real and practical ways without having to compromise their vision and authentic voice.