We at Buna are fascinated by the bohemian callings of Caroline Zeliang, an artist and designer. We caught up with her recently for a Q&A on what inspires her. She has styled our Collecting Pebbles Saree from Fura Fura collection.
Buna: Flowers seem to be a constant occurrence in your imagery and your art. Tell us a little about where this fascination for flora started?
Caroline: Plants and flowers have always been a huge part of my life. I grew up watching my family build gardens and tiny forests. I feel grateful to have been part of a family who have always been so close to nature and respected and valued its many gifts.
Using flowers for my work makes me feel connected to my roots and keeps me grounded. They never fail to fascinate me and I learn so much from them; I do post small facts about them here and there if you've got a chance to read on my social media.
They also help me keep calm and are one of the biggest remedies for my anxiety which is why I surround myself with plants and flowers in my house.
Buna: How would you describe your personal style?
Caroline: My personal style I'd say is quite old school, I don't think I fit into the new age style bracket at all, in fact I've never been a modern girl in terms of my aesthetics. Most of my fits are inspired by the old school/vintage era. I love wearing hand-me-downs specially those that come from my mother and grandmother. I love going through old photographs of my family and getting inspiration from it whenever I can.
Music and films that I love and grew up liking are also a big part of my aesthetic.
A major thing about my style is that I hardly wear anything black, you will never see me wear all black; I love colours and working with colours, especially the ones which are soothing to the eyes and the mind.
I like to keep my style striking but also soft and minimal.
Buna: Do you think this year has changed how you perceive fashion and consumption? Please tell us how?
Caroline: I stopped being an over-consumer a couple of years ago, I donated half of my closet and was quite proud of it because I have been guilty of hoarding clothes in my college days.
I reuse and rewear my clothes a lot, I love to mix and match.
This year the only new piece of clothing I bought for myself was a sari from this page on instagram called Indicult who were helping kaarigars sell their stock during this pandemic. It is run by a friend and her family.
I also like to make my own clothes, so I do pick up a few fabrics occasionally and stitch clothes for myself.
Buna: What is your idea of slow fashion and slow consumption?
Caroline: As mentioned above, slow fashion and slow consumption for me is to reuse, rewear, repair and upcycle as much as you can. Do not buy if it's not a priority or a necessity, give work to your local tailors be it for repairs or to get stuff made.
Yes, of course support sustainable homegrown brands but always remember - over consumption is not sustainable, even if you're buying from 'sustainable' brands.
Buna: We have often seen you make sarees a part of your everyday attire? What draws you towards this traditional garment and how do you make it your own?
Caroline: To be honest I am obsessed with sarees, I love how versatile they are, how simple and delicate yet have so much depth to them. I've never considered saree as an occasion-wear only; I am very comfortable in it and I can run/dance/hike basically do anything under the sun while wearing it. My most favourite are mulmul cotton sarees, the softness of them, and just how they makes me feel and look, is above and beyond any other piece of clothing for me.
Buna: What are your thoughts on social media as a form of expression for your work and your art?
Caroline: Social media plays a big part in sharing one's work and connecting with people who share similar ideas and views. I've come across so many amazing people and their work via social media. It's lovely to see the diversity of people and their art from around the world and support them, especially since you cannot always do that physically; so I am a big supporter of people who use social media for their art and expression and now - activism and journalism.
Buna: Which are the top five songs on your playlist right now?
- Touch by Alice Phoebe Lou
- Eastwick by Julia Jacklin
- Delicate by Jonah Yano
- Teenage blue by Dreamgirl
- Like you do by Joji
Buna: How do you think Buna sits with your aesthetic and idea of fashion?
Caroline: Buna is a beautiful brand and I connect with it in terms of its aesthetic and morals. I associate the words slow, soft, serene and impactful with Buna and all these words I also associate with the kind of art I like to make. And I am thankful and humbled to have been able to collaborate whenever possible with you guys.