EKTA: Vivid & Playful & Bold, Oh My! Made In South Africa

Welcome to EKTA. A South African clothing line that celebrates life, playfulness and sophistication through design. After three years of running her fashion business part time, as she honed her design skills, she finally went all in with EKTA, launching it in September 2016. With an online active store that has clients from South Africa, India, USA and UK, to her first physical store in Sandton, EKTA is quickly making a name for itself at home and internationally. Meet this new designer that showcases her strength through fabrics, bold colours and fun design choices.

[Image: Courtesy of EKTA]

About Ekta Kalan

Colour has always been part of Ekta’s world. Having grown up in a traditional Indian home in Johannesburg, she celebrated cultural festivals such as Diwali and Holi. These festivals thrived on the spirit of unity and a love for colour. Although she spent most of childhood drawing, she went on to pursue finance at the University of Cape Town. Afterwards, she took on the role of management consultant; a title soon discovered wasn’t meant for her.

[PHOTOGRAPHY: JP Hanekom |STYLING & ART DIRECTION: Sheena Bagshawe | MODELS: Funbi Ayinde-Kodaolu from Ice Models | MAKEUP & HAIR: Liezl Leach |PUBLICATION DESIGN: Hannah Stone]
Feeling that she wasn’t able to express her creativity in the workplace, she decided to go back to university to pursue a degree in Fashion & Design. While school taught her the skills to execute her raft, her surroundings played the role of teacher and muse. From architecture and certain streets, to the people who frequent those locations and the kind of art exhibited there. She keeps her mind and eyes open to embrace novel experiences and soak up the energy to fuel her innovation.

 

[PHOTOGRAPHY: JP Hanekom | STYLIST: Sheena Bagshawe | MODELS: Tshepiso Ralehlathe from Ice Models & Erin Heart from Boss Models | MUA & HAIR : Liezl Leach | LOOK BOOK DESIGN: Lydia Wessels | THEME DIRECTION: Ekta Kalan]
Apropos EKTA Clothing

Named after the creative director and founder, Ekta Kalan, EKTA is Sanskrit for Unity. In an interview with CNN African Voices, she elaborated, “Unity means we are one. It’s a bringing together of all different people, from diverse cultures and nationalities, and it think that’s what I want my brand to be about.” A philosophy that has helped to mould the brand that celebrates and pulls from a mixture of influences. For starters, the brand fuses together the designer’s Indian cultural heritage with her South African upbringing. Then there’s the aspect of drawing inspiration from worldwide inclinations in areas such as architecture and food; as mentioned above. Her design tells a story that is formed from her love of colour, cultures, history and old craftmanship.

[Image: Courtesy of EKTA]

Lastly, her take on details and colours mixed with geometrical design and minimalistic, clean lines portray her love for youthful vibrance, as well as, her appreciation for old crafts and techniques. “My brand stands for colour, playfulness, something that gives you joy and makes you feel happy but the same time sophistication,” she told CNN. The sum of all her experiences have led to the signature style that EKTA is quickly being recognised for.

[PHOTOGRAPHY: JP Hanekom |STYLING & ART DIRECTION: Sheena Bagshawe | MODELS: Funbi Ayinde-Kodaolu from Ice Models | MAKEUP & HAIR: Liezl Leach |PUBLICATION DESIGN: Hannah Stone]

The Collections

Ekta expresses her creativity right down to the prints used in her design process. That is, she creates a lot of the prints you see on the fabrics. She starts by either hand drawing/painting the print and converting it to CAD (Computer-aided design) or creating it directly on CAD. Once she’s satisfied with the colour and scale of the patterns and prints, she sends them to be digitally printed.  Below are three collections you can find under the EKTA label:

SUMMER PLAYHOUSE S16/17

Ekta brings a childlike qualities of ease and imaginings to life through bright colours and spirited graphic prints. Pastel hues, strong design lines, circular shapes and geometrical prints merge the world of sophistication with youthful play. Not to mention the pleating and folding details for that distinctive touch. Altogether, it’s a representation that a women can be strong and still know how to enjoy life to the fullest.

 

[PHOTOGRAPHY: JP Hanekom | STYLIST: Sheena Bagshawe | MODELS: Tshepiso Ralehlathe from Ice Models & Erin Heart from Boss Models | MUA & HAIR : Liezl Leach | LOOK BOOK DESIGN: Lydia Wessels | THEME DIRECTION: Ekta Kalan]
SPIRITUAL WARRIOR 17

This is EKTA’s second duet collection that keeps the bold colour theme going strong. With attributes of femininity, positivity and strength, this collection reflects on the issues of our time. From cultural diversity to migration, there is a strong desire for unity, greater strength and meaning. As explained by Not Just a Label, “The story is a warrior that strength lies in her own spirit and confidence in herself. She is brave and strong.”

 

[PHOTOGRAPHY: JP Hanekom |STYLING & ART DIRECTION: Sheena Bagshawe | MODELS: Funbi Ayinde-Kodaolu from Ice Models | MAKEUP & HAIR: Liezl Leach |PUBLICATION DESIGN: Hannah Stone]

VIVID NOSTAGIA COLLECTION

Nature and the City. Future and past. Vintage and modern. These are the elements guiding the Vivid Nostalgia collection. It was inspired by the tiled city of Lisbon in Portugal where buildings are adorned with elaborate patterned and painted ceramic tiles known as Azulejos. The retro design represents the minimal architecture while the green hues bring in the nature and life element. Merging the two worlds. EKTA showcased this collection at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Russia.

 

[Image: Courtesy of EKTA]
[Image: Courtesy of EKTA]
[Image: Courtesy of EKTA]
EKTA is a brand that is synonymous with bold colouration. From its distinctive geometric patterns to bright pops of colour, Ekta shares her love for colour loudly and proudly. But it’s also a brand with layers that embraces artistic and cultural fusion, appreciating the old, new and present to create wearable art for women.

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