Innovation is synonymous with Mumbai-based design studio Obataimu, a portal into an imaginary utopia where the relationship between making and using, aims to be more intimate and communal. Conceived in Tokyo and born in Bombay, the label challenges the strange and reinvents the ordinary. The name is the Japanese pronunciation of the English word, ‘overtime’ literally meaning ‘extra-salaried paid hours’ while the English dictionary describes the same as 'a fuller time' or a 'more wholesome time.' Founder Noorie Sadarangani describes Obataimu’s philosophy or a notion of time in itself, as an opposition to this shift, 'I find this symbolic shift in the language extremely telling of a cultural shift to goals over enjoyment or knowledge simply for its own sake.'
The concept store houses an atelier which can be easily described as a tailoring school. It strategically intertwines actors of consumption and factors of production into conversation. Acting as an art project, the brand aims to travel the world while sticking deeply to its roots. 'There is something so extremely edifying, soothing and therapeutic about being close to the source of anything. It becomes easy to trust, comforting, and instantly tethered to a human narrative and a memorable experience. The hope is to subliminally raise questions in the mind of the viewer about the obscurity and dark nature of the retail industry at large as a result of hyper-globalization,' Sadarangani elaborates, 'By this I am talking about things like off-shore production, total consumer alienation from the maker, the structural impossibility for small designers to scale independently because of a monopoly of means of production by just a few large conglomerates, the insatiable consumerist desire for instant gratification, a fast fashion culture addicted to non-stop newness at a rate that makes deep innovation extremely difficult forcing brands to hop from one fluffy idea to the next and so on.'
The inspiration originated in the food industry, directly establishing farm to table for clothes, an open kitchen sans an inventory. 'The way we choose to consume food globally has finally begun to change with a desire for home-style restaurants with an owner's touch, organic vegetables, free-range meat, personal recipes and more reaching a more mainstream consciousness. Fashion lags so far behind, why?'
The boutique houses collection from Obataimu’s Chapter 3; lasting for six months only before it flies off to a new destination. Following a subtle color palette, the fresh clothes for ladies inspired by London, Paris and Tokyo are bold and crafted with multiple layers available as structured tops, hand woven kimonos and silk pants. Along with bespoke clothing, the store also houses a curious collection of vintage sunglasses, noir-blanc photographs, not-so-heavy coffee table books and hand painted china.
Text Lavanya Grover
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