“We’ve lost touch. With where things came from. With the journey things take before we buy them. With the impact our choices have on the planet,” reads the opening line of ‘KAPAS’, SukkhaCitta’s month-long pop-up exhibition at Ashta District 8.
In line with the brand’s holistic approach to clothing and insistence on complete transparency, through the pop-up, SukkhaCitta takes visitors through their journey working with local craftswomen, or ‘Ibus’, to regeneratively grow their own cotton.
Taking into consideration that 99 per cent of cotton in Indonesia is imported, the brand sets on an ambitious project to repair the agricultural system from the ground up and repattern the connections between nature, makers and customers. The pop-up furthers that idea and provides a sort of biography for the clothes: covering the two-year-long process of how they were made and who made them.
Rather than starting something ‘new’, SukkhaCitta looks to bring back the traditional knowledge and practices of our ancestors. Forgoing conventional, industrial methods, the process adopts a ‘tumpang sari’ approach (multiple cropping), which relies on a much slower technique that follows the rhythm of nature and helps restore soil health in the process.
Stripped of the layer of human intervention that tends to speed up or control the process, multiple crops are grown together to provide a natural ecosystem for them to thrive. In this case, cotton is grown with over 23 other crops, including cover crops such as cassava and corn, as well as pollinator crops (marigolds) and trap crops (cloves and chillies) to keep pests away. Essentially letting nature do what it does best, all of these are then fertilised with natural composts and watered primarily with rainwater.
The result is their first regeneratively cotton collection of seasonless blazers, dresses and tops. Each handcrafted in 180 days, from growing, spinning, and weaving to stitching, the pieces focus on showcasing the natural beauty and texture of the cotton. Retaining their neutral shades of white and beige, some are embroidered with the KAPAS motif to represent the transformation process.
Amidst the widespread embrace of sustainable fashion, SukkhaCitta once more urges a deeper awareness of our clothing choices. Through KAPAS, it champions a farm-to-closet approach as both a remedy and a reminder that fashion and nature can coexist and mutually benefit.
‘KAPAS’ will run from 15 April to 15 May 2022 at Ashta District 8.