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Global Innovation Design (MA/MSc)

Jothi Kanayalal

I am an apparel designer turned sustainability expert. I currently work as an Innovation Associate at Fashion for Good, an organisation leveraging disruptive innovations, thereby transforming the old take-make-waste model with a circular approach.


Awards:

I was awarded “Emerging Designer of the Year 2011” at FDCI India Men’s Week. I won the “Best Non-Practicing Designer” and a sponsored internship at WGSN, Hong Kong at Let’s Design Season-1 2009 conducted by Zoom TV and CCI, India.

 

Work experience:

I’ve been working for 8 years in the fashion industry, across Bangladesh, India, UK and Europe. I worked as a Product Manager at NEXT Sourcing Ltd, India, a wholly owned subsidiary of NEXT plc., before joining Global Innovation Design.

I continue to conduct art and design workshops at universities and for the general public. I was a Software Engineer at Infosys before venturing into the field of design.

 

Education:

●  MA and MSc with Distinction - Global Innovation Design, Royal College of Art and Imperial College, London

●  MA and MSc Exchange Term - Keio University, Japan and Pratt Institute, New York

●  Post Graduate Diploma Programme in Apparel Design [PGDPD], National Institute of Design [NID] India – CGPA: 9.27/10

●  PGDPD Exchange Term - Pforzheim University, Germany; DAAD sponsored

●  Bachelors of Engineering with Distinction, Anna University Affiliated, India


I worked in Bangladesh for a few years and witnessing the Rana plaza tragedy was my cue to wanting adoption of better practices. Global Innovation Design has helped me develop a multicultural cross-disciplinary approach to solve problems.


Through all my projects at GID, I tried acquiring skills, and doing research that better equipped me to themes such as the 3rs - reduce, reuse and recycle, inclusivity and regenerative agriculture, falling under the larger theme of sustainability. 


I’d like to steer brands and manufacturers towards sustainable goals that drive a lasting impact on the people and the planet. Through design intervention, I aspire to reduce socio-environmental impacts in the clothing industry.

Breana — An inclusive humanoid breast form that simulates real breast-shapes and helps design better intimate wear.
Breana Short Working Demonstration
Regnault’s Classification of Ptosis and the Traditional Bra Measurement System — Not much research has gone into standardising bra sizes and measurements. On the other hand, volumetric measurements of breasts is used extensively in medical science and sports engineering.
Proposed User Interface — Input Variables: Left Breast Volume, Right Breast Volume, Ptosis Degree

Women and non binary people of the society have struggled to find comfortable, well-fitting bras due to diverse body forms and the industry’s need to standardize for mass production. Breana is a product that helps lingerie brands change their perspective from viewer to wearer, to be able to provide intimate wear that is inclusive of all body shapes and sizes. 


When it comes to breasts, volume, sagging, asymmetry and nipple deviation are some common variables that are genetic or may change due to external factors. These variables are responsible for all the beautiful diverse breast shapes. They also define the level of comfort we have with our clothes. Breana dress form is built on these variables.


Breana is an all inclusive humanoid dress form that lets apparel brands and manufacturers fit their garment samples on a simulated human-body like model in the place of currently used standard mannequins and ideal sized fashion models. The simulated model can alter its shape based on different real body measurements. 


Breana is a dynamic easy-to-use form that

  • Considers volume and grades of ptosis (sagging) of breasts for sizing accuracy
  • Is inclusive of all breast shapes and sizes
  • Takes real body measurements as input data for simulation
User group - Initial Prototype — Tested prototype that was made to measure and received user feedback on material, comfort, support and coverage.
Design Features
Initial Survey Analysis
Initial Bra Sketch — Women and non-binary who undertook the survey defined what they wanted their ideal bra to be like.
The Process
360 Degree Product View
360 Degree Product View

And I said to my body softly, “I want to be your friend.” It took a long breath and replied, “I’ve been waiting my whole life for this.” - Nayyirah Waheed

The interaction between bodies and clothing is more fascinating now than ever. Though we generally adhere to beauty standards set by the industry and struggle with body dysmorphia, clothing post the Covid-19 pandemic has taken a new meaning. People want to be in clothes they feel comfortable in and worry less about others opinions or societal norms. 


A survey I conducted had women describing their ideal bra to feel ‘like a hug’. The word soft, comforting, hugging often came up. This whole feeling of comfort subconsciously relates to the emotional state of well being. To build the first prototype, a user group of nine women was included at every stage of designing. 


The design features of the initial prototype include a dainty front strap with a side strap for extra support to hold the breasts snug. Fabric is peach finished with picoted edges to avoid tugging. Back strap is broader and the underbelt wider for grip.

The next steps include a wearer inclusive measurement system and usage of better tactile materials to create a feeling of emotional attachment.

Medium:

4-way stretch fabric
i t o - Waste to Footwear
i t o - Waste to Footwear
Crocheting of Indigo dyed t-shirt yarns
Indigo bath with flower patterns once powder submerges water
Indigo dye powder and t-shirt yarns before the start of dyeing process
The Process
The Final Product

During my term in Japan, I was intrigued by the garbage segregation and collection system. Almost everything there seems to be recycled but for clothes. Textile materials are collected once a week to be incinerated. This is sadly the after-life of most of our clothes, ending up either in landfill or being incinerated. 


Japan is well known for its age-old craft techniques such as Indigo dyeing and weaving zouri (meaning straw) slippers. Indigo in earlier days was used to dye garments for warriors due to the antibacterial and skin soothing properties of the dye.


Fascinated by these beautiful crafts that have been preserved for centuries, this project ito revalorised textile waste by dyeing and crocheting yarns out of these throw-away t-shirts.

Medium:

Discarded t-shirt, Indigo dye, Leather sole, Rubber, Gum
Revalourised post-consumer waste
Revalourised post-consumer waste
Linear take-make-dispose model
Process and the Outcome

Fast-fashion has received a lot of criticism, rightly so for being one of the most polluting industries. As Ellen McArthur points out, every second, the equivalent of one garbage truck of textiles is landfilled or burned.


“Design the world of tomorrow with the waste of today while working towards designing a world without waste” - A change maker's guide to the future, Lenager Group. The fashion industry follows a linear take-make-dispose model. 


This project aimed at recycling material that may be used in other industries. Textile waste was shredded and ground to fibres. The fibres then went through different treatments to achieve various materials types.

Medium:

Post-consumer waste textiles, natural ingredients