So I guess the impetus to conduct this interview all started when I saw a Facebook friend’s status about a pair of David Bowie + Tilda Swinton leggings; I immediately knew that I must have them, and after learning they’d only set me back $30, the deal was sealed. Who could have dreamed up and executed such a magical design? Well, it turns out that it was a collaboration between Brooklyn-based Shawn Bhandari of Shivura Design and Nat Baruch, creator of the hugely amazing Tilda Stardust Tumblr. I quickly realized that Shawn does all kinds of pattern design, and uses the leggings as his medium; he’s collaborated with other creatives, but he’s also incorporated plenty of his own naturally abstract (and very cool-looking) images into the line. I caught up with Shawn over the phone last week to talk about how he got into the leggings game, and what we can expect from Shivura Design in the future. Definitely read up, and in the meantime, scope all of the incredible patterns here:
So tell me a little bit about how you got started making the leggings, and how did those become the medium you decided to work with?
I’ve been doing pattern design as an artistic hobby for the last three or four years, and before that I did a lot of abstract photos. Over the last few years I started to deconstruct my favorite elements of those photos and make repeating patterns out of them, but I didn’t really know what to do from there since they’re a little too basic for an art show, even though some of the designs are intricate. Then last year a friend of mine gave me the idea to use leggings, which got me thinking that a lot of the patterns in fashion are digitally constructed, and you don’t see a lot of organic elements. So I thought it might be a good outlet, and a good avenue into a small fashion company that’s reasonably priced, that tries to incorporate more organic lines, colors and textures, rather than something created in Photoshop pixel by pixel. (The Bowie-Tilda leggings might not be the best example of that, but that’s the eventual goal.) If the leggings sell decently this winter, I’d like to get into custom knit sweaters next year and slowly expand the line.
And have you made your stuff available strictly on Etsy for now, or have you got things in other shops as well?
Yeah, it’s just Etsy for now. I was thinking of starting a little collective with designer friends on a web page, and that could be a next step, but for now it’s just Etsy. I may shop them around a little bit to shops around New York, in Brooklyn, but I’m just taking it slow for the moment.
Do you think you’ll mainly focus on your own designs for the time being, or have you got plans to do more collaborations as with Tilda Stardust and Andy Rash?
I’m not exactly sure how I’ll approach the next one, but I definitely want Shivura to go in the direction of more artist collaborations; I think it’d be great to expand the designs and broaden the appeal. I’d like to make it a place that artists can get their work made with an innovative medium.
Yeah, it’s a really cool idea to have a sort of mobile canvas, and to potentially have artwork being made visible globally. What’s the farthest away that you’ve had someone place an order?
Well, I was excited to get my first Japanese order the other week, and we also get a lot of orders from Australia and Brazil. Then we’ve also had Spain, Italy, the UK, Denmark…it’s really fun to get international orders.
I bet! Now, what would you say the biggest challenge has been for you so far, and/or what’s been the easiest aspect of the business?
Well, the other day I started working on the Bowie-Tilda pattern again since I’m beginning to run out, and that process of pattern-making is just so much fun. The hard thing is kind of what I’m facing right now, which is: how do I take this little company that got a lot of nice, organic press and bring it to the next level.
Right, definitely. Now, before we wrap up, have you got any #HASHTAGSOFWISDOM to impart?
#685Lorimer. That’s where I believe all the magic of the world emanates from.
There’s also a lot of magic emanating from these leggings, so be sure to snag a pair for a last minute Christmas gift (to yourself and/or a very lucky amigo), or for an NYE outfit that is both practical and TOTALLY AWESOME. And follow Shivura Design on Facebook and Twitter to stay afloat of all the latest news!