A pandemic baby born from the downtime we all got, Mridu Mehra’s label Kokūn (@kokun.india) is deeply inspired by the Wabi Sabi philosophy. Mridu, a NIFT Mumbai graduate always felt like an outlier in the pomposity of the fashion world, seeking to create what she truly enjoyed. As she went on to explore the deep calling within her, she started Kokūn, purely out of intrigue about processes that flow organically, techniques of slow stitching and zero waste.
At Kokūn, Mridu and her team take their time to create each piece. They utilise this time to take inspiration from the flora around them and rethink the way they produce and consume in this fast-paced world. This translates into their creations as they do not stock up inventory and love customising, to cater to everyone.
Truly making a sustainable mark in the industry, we sat down with Mridu and got a peek into her every day and creative process.
What made you start a brand like Kokūn?
As a designer and an admirer of nature, I always wanted to make meaningful somethings, that have a distinct identity of their own and that look like a part of nature.
Kokūn was born to connect people with the product and the processes used to make the clothes that they wear. In a world of abundant choices, I wanted to explore different mindful techniques to create unique pieces – an antidote to fast fashion, so to speak.
Sustainability in fashion seems like aiming for the stars, do you find it hard to maintain the perfect balance between being ethical and creating pieces everyone would love?
After running the label for 3 years, I have understood that Kokūn is not for everyone. It is for people who care about the impact of their choices. So, we do not try to create for everyone, we just try to make what feels right to us - sustainably and creatively. However, there is always a challenge between commercial viability and creative expression (which changes or evolves with time).
How does a typical day start for you?
I like to unwind in the mornings at a slow pace and gear up for the day ahead. Ideally, I start my day with sipping warm water, feeding and playing with my cats, as I stretch, journal, and plan my day - followed by a cold shower and rāgas in the background. After a quick basic breakfast, my day begins and there’s no looking back.
Do you prefer to work from home or from your studio?
When I am ideating on something new, I prefer working from my room (rather bed) and in complete isolation. Otherwise, most days are spent in my workshop with my team-creating.
What part of your design process do you enjoy the most?
I love creating and I am always curious about the ideas that run restless in my head, till their execution. I enjoy natural dye extraction and coloring, printing with foraged finds - because of the ever-changing nature of natural dyes and leaves. Every batch of colors - is a fresh surprise - a gift from nature.
Are you a morning person or a night person?
I’ve recently converted into a morning person from a midnight owl. I guess that’s what the 30s do to you.
A book you are reading right now?
I have this annoying habit of collecting books and not finishing them. Although ‘Freedom from the Known’, by J. Krishnamurti, is a book I always find myself going back to and re-reading.
Dream country to visit?
Chile, because I think everything about the country is unique including its shape, landscapes, people, and isolation.
How would you describe your personal style?
Always changing, comfortable, moody, laid back, handmade and sustainably made.
Three things you can't live without?
Sunlight (I am a plant), my family (both at home and my team at Kokūn), and my 4 cats + 2 dogs.
Shop Kokūn’s collection here.