Dusky endings.

The month of March had not even ended and the heat already made its presence felt. I travelled to the city of Jodhpur in Rajasthan, India. I stayed at the NIFT campus, located on the outskirts of the city, to take a few lectures on written communication and to hold a colour psychology workshop with Fashion Communication students at the centre. As much as I love teaching, or rather interacting with design students, the constant travel to different centres does take a toll on my health.

The dry heat of the “Land of Kings” was a new experience for me. As a child, I would travel with my family to see my sister in the town of Pilani in northeastern Rajasthan. These trips would usually be short affairs, mostly done during the cooler parts of the year when the BITS campus is quite green so you wouldn’t feel the heat as much. But during this visit, I experienced the mercury rise. Transitioning into summer at this place was not easy. And I am not talking about the Delhi heat problem. Delhi feels like paradise when compared to the moisture-sucking air of Rajasthan. My days were mostly spent in air conditioning, and my walking path was dictated by following shaded spots on the ground. For most of the time I was there, I wrapped muslin around my face, wishing it was always drenched in cold water to soothe my burning skin. Still, there was no escape from the relentless heat once I left the shelter protecting me. The trees, the people, the animals, the birds, all life seemed to be asking for mercy from the ironically life-giving Sun.

Only when dusk arrives can you breathe a sigh of relief. The merciless sun now takes a softer tone. The colour of the evening is a tangerine dusk. The hot air becomes kinder, morphing into a slow breeze. You close your eyes and feel your body relax along with the mood of the sky. You can finally sit outside in the open and watch the sun go down as the earth swallows it up. Everything seems slightly easier and you don’t have to take refuge under the shade any more.

You see why the culture of Rajasthan, or even Gujarat for that matter, is so bright and colourful, why the folk music has so much soul. Because the sun, which usually gives life, can also take life. Take the calmness of water away from the land and you are left with a feeling of lifelessness. I tried to compensate for this life-sucking heat by wearing a cotton shirt with a vintage print and wide collar, along with white denims. The cotton made me feel lighter and the print made me feel hopeful and light. People in this culture compensate for a desaturated landscape through using saturated colours. That is why vibrant colours and eclectic prints became such an important part of the Rajasthani culture. Clothing is a reaction to surrounding environments, and also an opportunity for people to express themselves amidst a landscape that can often feel oppressive and boring.

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Photographs by Suryan Unni Joy.

Story by Sahdev Hooda.

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Kangra diaries

Traveling is like reading a book. Like being transported to a new world where unpredictability of life comes to life again. Giving us insights on the world around us at large and also what lies with in ourselves.

I have recently started teaching at different centres of National Institute of Fashion Technology. I studied fashion at NIFT, New Delhi and now teaching the same to the next generation of curious thinkers. Apart from being able to share what I have learned in past ten years of working, I thoroughly enjoy traveling to these different destinations, which I might not have visited otherwise.

Kangra is one of the places NIFT has established a centre at. The college is placed on a hill, just a small walk from the main city. This is my second trip to this place. It is nothing less than another set of beautiful memories etched in my mind. Conversations with young minds is truly an amazing experience. Their unadulterated personalities is a breath of fresh air. There is a certain sense of serenity in the college, a calm vibe with an under current of excitement of the youth.

The city is still away from being commercialised. It has its own charm. Charm of a world untouched and pleasant simplicity. It will be absolutely unfair to not mention the beautiful view one gets from the perspective of the hill top that the college is built upon. It overlooks the valley which is shielded from the other side by the breathtaking Dhauladhar range, vertically inclined, majestic in sight. You will see it here in the images I have shared out of a big pool of them. At times, after the lectures are done, I would walk with friend, who also teaches there, to the other side of the college hill and find a spot to sit at, over looking a river. The cover page image is the view from where we would usually sit. Our spot. We would sit and stare at the sun go down. An absolutely breathtaking view, right in the lap of untouched nature. The birds of prey in the sky would often distract us and hypnotise us with their seamless flow on the winds above. They are poetry in air, just like the clouds.

Occasionally we would skip the lunch at the college canteen and go down to the ‘dhaba’ near college, which was based on the edge of these beautiful yellow fields in the valley. Mustard was flowering then, welcoming spring. The fresh orange juice, ‘aloo paranthas‘ with ‘dahi‘ were a hit with the students and us two, the only customers. After a nice small glass of chai we would go for a brief walk into the fields. Sit their in silence, giving way to the chirping of birds and ruffle of leaves in the wind. At first when you sit down, you only see the big picture. The mountains, the sky, the trees, the big birds. After some time, the life around starts to emerge in finer detail. The bees, the insects, the little birds, the sunlight on the leaves and you see the most beautiful painting in the world. The innocence of things that are wild and free. Egoless, and pure. The most blissful feeling.

Love.

Something a modern mindset can find hard to tap into.

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I will be going back there very soon. Hopefully, I will gather some more images and make another blogpost out of them. Though I love making beautiful images, I wish I could also share some of the videos I have made of the birds in the sky. I have shared some of them on my Instagram page. It is with the same name as my blog @sahdevhooda.

Photographed by iPhone 7 Plus.

Thank You Vineet for you support and also clicking some of these beautiful images.

Sahdev Hooda

White gets dirty

A colour that represents purity, virginity, innocence, light, goodness, heaven, safety, cleanliness and a lot more positive. It also represents all the colours at once, with their positive and negative. Hence it is the colour of completion.

I guess one of the reasons why we are so easily attracted to anyone who is wearing white is because it makes us feel everything said above. But is white actually all that “good”?

It is and it is not. Talking about perception here.

The yin yang says that every white has some black and vice versa. That is a very spiritual and philosophical message. I merely wanted to capture the feelings about white which are perceived as “dirty”.

No matter how pious a colour it is, white gets dirty.

I am being very confidently presumptuous when I say that this series of images captures every man and woman’s fantasy.

Dedicated to the classic white shirt and the classic sensual attraction towards it.

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To me it is the colour of liberation.

 

Concept and direction be me, Sahdev Hooda.

Assisted and also Photographed by Soumya Reddy.

Talent: A girl has no name.

Men in skirts?

Men is skirts.

I think this statement holds a lot in it. Something after so much discussion and history, still has not seen acceptance in everyday style as much. I use the word style more specifically because if ever a man wears a skirt and shows up, it is considered a statement, without a miss. Be it a hollywood star showing up in a kilt on red carpet or a star kid showing up in a fashion campaign (Jaden smith), carrying off a skirt, it is always talked about. Why are we men so scared of wearing a skirt? That question has very obvious answers and I would not waste my word on that over here. However, when a guy gathers the balls to sport a skirt in a public appearance, it is certainly an empowering sight. Even more so when the person wearing it feels no compromise on his masculinity or identity.  And why the heck not. Men have worn drapes as much as women did, till the western tailoring took over the idea of everyday dressing world wide.  Check out the historical costumes of different cultures and you will know what I mean.

This look here is all Anuj Bhutani. Needless to say he is definitely one of the most tasteful designers around. The extreme minimalistic elegance that these pieces had really intrigued me and I wanted to explore the style. The very first time I tried the combination, I fell in love. It brought back the same feeling of grace I had felt when I had worn one of the tibetan men’s full length kimono. I know it sounds funny but I partly did feel like Samurai Jack and that got me even more into it. I got the feeling of an old world charm that could seem like a fantasy land. Where legends lived and world was full of mysteries.

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Moving back to the current reality, it still feels amazing to just be in it. I would usually deny myself the opportunity to dress like this more often as I would attach so much definition to it. Right from gender, sexuality, age, social appropriation and a general sense of being judged unwell. This post for me is also a part of challenging myself and my creativity. Questioning my own idea of self image and growth. It has been an empowering experience. It is a sort of beginning of a journey where I come out of my shell and explore my creativity more fearlessly. This post has some of my favourite images till now.  I love them for their pure beauty and elegance, floating free from the usual and mundane.

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Starting from calmness and opening out to be its own kind of creature.

Clothes by Anuj Bhutani.

Concept, styling and photography by me.

Sahdev Hooda.

Dreams are made of colours.

There is a mad scientist that lives inside each of our’s brain. He is the original dreamer. The one who sees a broader spectrum of possibilities. Things that are not ordinary, mundane or usual.  It is this guy who pushes us to the get the juice out of life. To do things that we would not, unless the mad scientist came up with it.

These are dreams that he is always painting, right form your childhood days. Telling you to go for the biggest candy. To slip out of your mother’s protection and go roaming around the city. To just be yourself.

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With time the scientist grows in his ideas, while you are busy updating your shoe size. He has bigger plans for you now as he only adds to “must do crazy things” list. He is not bothered about making sense. He is mad. He gets away with it. All he knows now is his love for colour. So when we go to sleep, the mad scientist is still at work. Mixing new colours, like the white and red of the candy, swirling around each other, painting a new picture for you. So that when you wake up, you know what you want.

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Though when he is lonely, he invents friends for himself. They are generally nice guys, they like the scientist. They are his creation. his minions.

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Well a little company killed no body.

Jumpsuit by Anuj Bhutani.

Concept and Photography by me.

Sahdev Hooda

p.s. Special thanks to Manisha Shastri for letting me shoot at her place, play with her cats and the invented friends.

Where the kites fly.

My fascination with the sky has been like a love affair. After I moved to Bangalore, weekends and early evenings come together on the terrace, sitting and staring at the blue, endless sky and look at the kites flying above you. Majestic looking, their glide only adds to my fascination.

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Just how I love the blue sky, I also love design. And Urvashi Kaur. I think she is filled with great passion for her craft and her energy is infectious. I always want to know what her new range is like. There is a certain romanticism in the choice of weaves, textures, colours and cuts she puts together. Yet, such absolutely practical pieces that you fall in love. I picked  3 pieces from her label Urvashi Kaur (shirt and jacket) and Kapda by Urvashi Kaur (T-shirt) to shoot. The pants are my own. The shirt and jacket “touch and feel” amazing. One could live in them. I remember trying the jacket at her stall at Lakme Fashion Week for the first time and refusing to get out of it,

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These are only among the several other things that I love from her range. Out of the three, the t-shirt is the one that took me to the sky. The dye effect reminded of a black eagle. Rest all was a chain reaction from there. I hope I could marry the romance I feel for the sky and great clothes together here.

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Shirts and Jacket by Urvashi Kaur and Kapda by Urvashi Kaur.

Concept, Styling and Photography by me.

Sahdev Hooda

Colour takes over.

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SS17 is here and I have been blue about not being able to blog. Yes, I terribly miss doing my shoots. Planning the next set of images. I am still doing similar things but not for the blog. Well changing your city and moving to a “never been there before” one takes its time and I am settling in well with the Bangalore weather. That is indeed the best part about the garden city. Evenings are so very pleasant.

I have been only doing the thinking bit and trying to figure out the best way to kick back into doing my blogposts again. I had put up a post on Facebook some time back about looking out for Photographers to work with which has not lead to any collaborations yet. I decided to do all the work myself, including photography.

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This got me to work with compositions. I have never really done these for my blog. So clicking self and doing some product composition are both “first ever” here.

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This Tommy shirt colour got my attention some time back. I have been consciously trying to move towards a minimalistic bend towards my life and impulsive shopping is certainly not a part that can be managed with that. However, this colour got the good old devil out and now I have it.

I didn’t really need it.

Then why did I pick it up?

The colour?

Yes, the colour.

The colour broke the monotony of blues and olives that I have been overdoing for a while. Since the shirt didn’t come with a name for the colour, I think it sits closest to a ‘Qatar Red’. I like the name. So a colour can inspire someone to own it. That thought brought in the element of 4 tonal colours, listed like they would in a colour book.  Put together like a gradient, it represented my thought of the richness in colour only, without detail. I personally love prints. Specially printed shirts. This however is a story of colours and its tonality.

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The denims are from U.S. Polo, watch from Chaps and the retro sneakers are from KOOVS. This colour palette is a great theme to play with for summers. I generally don’t wear pink. With this look though, I would totally wear pink sneakers. If in canvas, even better. Hah! That is wishful thinking and getting ahead of myself.

Going back to my minimalistic thoughts, hope you like the images.

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Concept, Styling and Photography by me.

Sahdev Hooda

Painterly Indulgence

I do love to paint once in a while. In fact, fashion came to me through illustrations. Before I even knew that I would take up a creative field as a career choice, I used to sketch women on small pieces of paper in my school time, pretending I am making notes. Hardly interested in academics that time, language, basketball and sketching were the only three things that occupied my time, apart from chasing girls.

These three artworks were made during the time when I started to experiment with colour, I was majorly a black and white guy and limited to lead and charcoal. I have always been obsessed with a woman’s hair whenever I sketch. I think there is something absolutely romantic and magical about it.

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The Thinking Lady.

Acrylic on Paper

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The Jungle Spirit

Pencil and Ink on Paper

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Come To Life.

Pencil and Ink on paper.

 

Art by me.

Sahdev Hooda

#oldwork

I recently had to go for an interview with an e-commerce company as a stylist. I am generally not the nervous one with interviews but this time I was because even though I have done a good amount of styling work as a freelancer but never was I interviewed as a stylist before. I wanted to show them the best of my work or something with more depth and storytelling. Beyond celeb styling or what I generally have been able to achieve for my blog till now. Believing that I had no record of it, I surprising found all the editorial work that I had done till now. I was feeling absolutely nostalgic to see these images.

This is back in the days, winter of 2010 when I was still exploring my career options, I got an exciting chance to work with a start up. It was a friend who invited me onboard to look after the fashion bit for a magazine.

You are clearly a one man army in a start up situation. This was the first issue of TLF and my first work where I conceptualised, sourced, booked and executed everything myself and was it fun. We were a small knit team of friends, trying to do something different.

The story came from discussions about an earth conscious mood and we moved to creating imagery which somehow embodied a cry or a voice of the current situation of our environment.

It is always such a pleasure to shoot with Rishabh Anupam Sahay. He is one friend I have always enjoyed working with and has long a name. This was our first collaboration as well.

Hah! Old times.

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Photographs by Rishabh Anupam Sahay.

Talent: Tatyana Timirova.

Hair and makeup by Ratul.

Styled by me.

Sahdev Hooda

The bride and the groom

Culture

This has been the most fascinating wedding I have attended till now. The bride and the groom, both are my dear old friends and when they told me they were getting married in Ladakh, I didn’t know they were gonna do it in such a traditionally beautiful way. I was so amazed to look at their costumes with all the jewellery, accessories and the way everything was styled. The traditional robe, ‘Goncha’ is the traditional attire finished with a long scarf tied around the waist to hold and secure the wrap. The women’s costume is more detailed with gathered details on the waist and of course more ornamented with beautiful jewellery. It was a feast not just the stomach but for the eyes too. I will cover more about the wedding and few more interesting facts about a Ladakhi wedding in the next post. This post is focussed on the gorgeous couple and their majestic wedding outfits. Don’t they leave you awestruck?

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Photographed by me.

Sahdev Hooda