On her creative process transcending boundaries — and how that reflects in November Noon’s latest campaign Doraha
In the first half of her career, Kashmiri-Australian artist Priyanka Kaul designed clothing that illustrated traditional textiles in new and exciting contexts. Now, she has moved to London and developing a multi-faceted approach to art, design, and everything in between. Here, we talk to her about her new artistic journey and her collaboration for November Noon’s latest campaign Doraha.
You’re in London at the moment. How do you spend your days there?
Yes, I am! I moved to London from Australia a few months ago. It’s such a bustling hub of cultural events, people, and spaces. I’m generally just meeting fellow creatives, attending design forums, and building up new creative skill sets. No week is ever the same. For example, one week I’m stone carving in an art academy and the next week I’m learning about building architecture in the Metaverse. I feel like a teething toddler, making connections and cognitive leaps while sleeping and dealing with the physical consequences of growing age.
How has art influenced your life?
In London, I feel blessed to access such variety and introspective work but also feel cursed that I don’t have enough time to learn and digest its meaning.
If we just focus on fine art, I would say it’s built up my relationship and understanding of colour and composition. These two elements are the foundations for every art practice I take on. However, recently I have grown an interest in moving past technique and understanding the purpose and emotion behind artworks — how they came into the world and the effect they have on an audience or an environment. Art and design are rarely solitary practices, who benefits from authorship is something I’m curious about as well.
What’s your creative process like?
Right now, quite fluid. I let opportunities dictate my focus. I love keeping my core values and aesthetic at the heart of what I do but changing the dimension of my work. I tend to move between art, fashion, photography, and creative direction quite frequently. Each informs one other. .
You founded Badaam, which blends handloom with a modern aesthetic. What drew you to handloom?
I chose handloom as my primary material for its structure and lustre. For designers that are silhouette and form-driven, handloom silk provides shapes that encase the body in a way that holds rather than folds. I also love that handloom uses natural materials , and processes and has a low environmental but high economic impact for artisan communities. There was also (of course) a big nostalgic reason as silk sarees are my connection with my matriarch and cultural roots.
My process always starts with deep research, it doesn’t matter what the result is as long as there is emotional or visual connectivity between insight and outcome. I have noticed though, as I grow older I’ve started to cherish my intuition and be guided less by the process but more by feeling..
How has India inspired your work?
Over the last few years, I’ve been inspired to think more critically about the transformation of aesthetic and spend time understanding the philosophy behind visual cultures. People speak about the rich heritage of textile and artisan skills but the knowledge of educators, philosophers and ecologists in India is just as incredible.
You worked on the latest campaign for November Noon. What do you want people to feel when they look at the images?
I felt the mood of the campaign was similar to my move to a new country, optimistic but cautious, stimulated but restrained, colourful but introspective.
I want people to reflect on their own movements in their physical and emotional spaces post-covid. It feels like we are outdoors but still scarred from our interior boundaries and endless self-critique. We are still adjusting and slowly reuniting with all of our senses and remembering the value of no-screen time.
Doraha feels like that middle step where we are too exhausted to predetermine the events of new catastrophes and too far to feel the absence of growth from the old ones.
What was your biggest takeaway from the project?
I’ve been on a fashion design hiatus for quite a while and touching handwoven silk again reminded me how superior the textile actually is. The vibrancy, versatility, and strength of this textile are like no other.
Do you have a favourite piece from this collection?
My favourite garment is the bright fuchsia belted top with tie sleeves. I love the movements of the tie’s as the arms rise and fall.
How would you wear it?
I would wear it over a long-slitted silk pencil skirt or tapered jeans with shin-high boots.
What’s next for you?
I will be taking on more creative direction projects and nourishing my curious mind with research or critique-based art and photography courses. I also hope I can use my time abroad to build new friendships, and networks and learn more about my capabilities as a creative