Bianca Kuttickattu, Designer, wears the Colorant Serres Shirt and Lolani pants in Indigo at her cottage in Mountaindale, NY.

Indian Almond Leaf (Terminalia catappa) aka Catappa Leaf, is a tropical tree known for large, glossy leaves native to the Indian subcontinent. Part of a vast eco-system, fallen Catappa leaves provide a source of food, regulate water Ph, and even act as an anti-fungal for aquatic life. The leaves are heavy in tannins, natural compounds that can be extracted and have been used to create natural dyes that yield warm earthy tones to deep shades of brown and black.

What is the origin story of Namai and how does zero waste factor into your production? All of our repurposed Kantha textile pieces are zero waste. With the scraps from the adults jackets we make kids jackets, tote bags, and small pouches. The fabrics are precious and we make sure nothing is wasted.

What inspires you and how does it influence your design process? I’m inspired by art, interiors, travel, and nature. These don’t filter into my designs in a direct way, but they keep me feeling creative in different ways. Being in nature helps me unwind, so that stress and fatigue doesn’t cause burnout and hamper my creativity. Going to art exhibitions is something I need to do regularly, to absorb colors and compositions, and textures. I think the choices I make in colors and textiles unconsciously reflect my taste in art and culture, and sometimes I can trace it backwards after the product is finished, for example, I’m always drawn to vintage quilts with spots on them, because they remind me of Yayoi Kusama, and I’m always inspired by the colors and textures of Sam Gilliam, Rothko, Matisse, and Helen Frankenthaler, to name a few.

Where do you like to visit and travel to in the future? My favorite places to visit are places I have never been to before! I’m always drawn to places that have a strong art and craft culture, because it’s inspiring to learn and discover new things. Having said that, I adore Italy, it’s my favorite vacation place (that I’ve been to so far!) and traveling to India is always deeply inspiring and creative, I am trailing to India in a week to meet with artisans, and I can’t wait!

Who wears Namai and do you have any current muses? The people that wear Namai want to express who they are on the inside, and they aren’t afraid of standing out. They share a love of rare textiles and value individuality, creativity and unique expression. I’m constantly inspired when I meet people at markets and in person events, that choose a piece that represents who they are, it’s why I love what I do. My muse is a free spirited, color loving creative soul who is in harmony with who they are, and lives life on their own terms.

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