‘The Almirah’ – A Fashion Project by Kerala Artist Delineates caged Emotions of Women as a fallout of the Pandemic

By Anwesha Chakravorty

Sharmila Nair, a Kochi based fashion designer, blown up the social media with an innovative fashion art installation project ‘ The Almirah’ which has been released on the Instagram page of Sharmila’s online boutique Red Lotus . ‘The Almirah’ portrays the true blend of mix emotions and fashion among women trapped within their mental cages amidst the lockdown period. ‘The Almirah’ delineates the mind pictures and its impalpable feelings with heart wrenching expressions among  women.

In Sharmila Nair’s multidisciplinary installation, ‘The Almirah’ highlights, a woman clad in saree voices joyfully, “Tenth day of the lockdown and you are beside me” while her other voice screams, “Come and posses me with your cold limbs. I will strangle you with my stale blood’. Hence, ‘The Almirah’ projects a saree-draped woman performing inside an almirah, next to her neatly piled unused sarees in lockdown . She portrays  eight different emotions with the help of music, light and poetry. The piled and trapped sareers in the almirah acts as a metaphor to embrace various emotions of women.

Sharmila Nair

While speaking to News Sense the designer said, “Due to the lockdown, I was not able to proceed with my works. Again I witnessed that women in my family were getting depressed. As this situation has restricted and caged them in their house. While some of my IT friends, were happy to be with their families. One day when I reached the office and looked at the unsold sarees stacked in my almirah, I had a feeling of being trapped. I thought to feature a woman trapped in an almirah. That was what connected the dots and almirah happend” 

In Kerala, parents gift their daughter with an almirah at her wedding. The almirah, witnesses her every sadness, happiness, fear, frustration being her soul comapnion throughout the life journey. Thus the almirah showcases as a metaphor for the limited space and stacked sarees as trapped women in the society ingrained with misogyny. Thus, Nair being one of them , have able to  craft this idea on her brain canvas.

Sharmila Nair

The designer claimed it to be Kerala’s first multi-disciplinary fashion art installation, which is executed using unique techniques.” I had a tough time to explain the idea to my team members. We hadn’t used any colour correct during post production. It was really hard to project this as we didn’t have any such references” , said Nair.

However, she is overwhelmed with the responses the project is reciving. She believes that ‘The Almirah’ has successfully connected with individual’s emotions within the plethora of uncertainty. 

Hence, ‘The Almirah’ ,highlights the secrets, desires and hopes of women locked away in an ‘Almirah’. The  one thing one can take away from the Project, is that stories weaved in fashion which lies hidden yet apparent, projects more meaning, making it empowering for the woman who clads it.


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