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Words Rikke Jensen
Photographers Francesco Brigida, Stephanie Lou & Dario Ruggero

Less Magazine would like to present Hala Kaiksow. The Bahrain-based designer has currently teamed up with the Nomablue program for Nature and Ocean conservation and developed a series of garments for the Spring / Summer 2018 season. This series also includes a collaboration piece exclusively for Nomablue. This collection serves to create a dialogue between environmental fields and the creative industry.

Kaiksow’s inspiration for this collection lies in the primary need of man: the need to be clothed. From the dawn of time, humans have sought to protect their bodies from the harsh environments around them. However, the environments have evolved and so did the humans with them. As the world continues to change, Kaiksow’s creations aim to help with the buffering process that has become such a need for the human body.

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Gathering a historical aspect to her research, Kaiksow studied the design of medieval undergarments as they were made to protect the wearer from various illnesses. She used the knots and strings from these designs to create intelligent adjusting and fittings. The collection becomes, through expert craftsmanship and attention to detail, extremely sophisticated whilst preserving the rough functionality.

Everything from garments to a final product is woven on a handloom by Kaiksow. Her reinvention of a pleated skirt worn by mid-century spinners made with raw linen reflects her fascination with the ages of past. She is deeply inspired by female artisans and the Dilmun civilization in Bahrain, where she gathered inspiration from the worship statues there.

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The whole idea of protection is conceived from how the skin and fabric work together. As Kaiksow weaves her own fabrics, she has been able to experiment with various kinds of materials and weight in dynamic contrasts. The organic and inorganic meet each other in the duo of nettle and Kevlar. Treated and hand woven by the handloom to break down their stiffness and to imitate the feeling of human touch. A combination of untreated silk and cotton, a light and mid-weight material, create soft cocoons that envelope the body and allows it to move freely. The airy cuts make the clothing imitate the delicate movement of wings or an aura following the wearer. She ultimately completes the union of earth and sea by using a tamed color palette. Dusty white and warm cream moving into multiple shades of blue: all made with traditional indigo dyeing techniques.

With her collaboration with Nomablue, Kaiksow will return 10% to humanitarian and conservation initiatives with each sale from her collection. Her atelier and team of hard-working artisans, including her use of local and controlled production, makes it possible to contribute to the economy of Bahrain in a conscious way. Kaiksow’s love for her culture, history, and environmental consciousness is keeping Bahrain’s ancient craftsmanship tradition alive in a matrimony between protection and union.

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