Leepakshi Ellawadi talks the beauty of classic Archival fashion

Smrithi Mohan
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Archival fashion

Leepakshi Ellawadi talks about Archival fashion and its art of digging through classic couture and style!

Remember when some of us decided to bury a box with things that are very dear to us so our future selves could dig it out and revisit these memories? Archives are exactly that! Revisiting old documents, pieces, memorandums, and others that were relevant at a certain period and became a piece of history later. Fashion is an industry that works around seasons and artistic visions being brought out into a piece of fabric. We see designers spending years on their collections that end up becoming a part of history as new trends take over. 

Have you ever wondered what happens to designer collections that people no longer find relevant? Apart from them being stored as a ‘vintage’ collection, they become a part of history that people hardly tend to revisit. With archive fashion, all these classic designs are getting the comeback they deserve. Every fashion enthusiast is finally getting their hands on their favorite pieces that are decades old. 

What is archive fashion?

Archival fashion, something that has always existed, is all about looking back at history and seeing the changes that fashion brought, how it evolved, how silhouettes changed over time and being able to understand people of those times. It is about marking a particularly important time in history when it changed or that may include a very unique runway moment.

I would say that there is a deeper meaning to archival fashion for people who are interested in fashion as there's also a surface interpretation of exactly what it's called. But archival fashion for a layman would mean looking back at things that kind of existed, which are not in the current season, and thinking of ways to bring them back because it is a way to recycle as well. 

Impact on Fashion/ Fashion Revolution:

Fashion archival is very important to the industry at the moment because as a stylist or somebody who belongs to the fashion industry, I strongly feel that we need to move in the direction of recycling. We need to start creating awareness of how things can be reused, restyled, put together, and worn in so many different ways; rather than just chucking your flare denim because skinny is in. 

“Re-reuse your pieces, and have fun with them instead of throwing them away.” 

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As a person or a stylist who doesn't go by quick trends or what season it is, I would go to vintage shops and pick up a few things that don't exist in the current season. These things only help the industry grow because you can still experiment with fashion while slowing down with fast-moving fashion. I feel it really helps with where we are headed globally. 

Archiving is not really rocket science. You kind of latch onto a few pieces instead of just hoarding more. I've been in the industry for almost 13 years and have trousers from almost 15 years ago since they still fit me. I just style them differently.

“Every cloth, fit, and look means something, especially to the ones who designed and created it.”

It’s about bringing stories of fabric from around the world and weaving it into an outfit that eventually becomes ‘The Fit.’ Archiving clothes becomes a reflection of these stories helping people bring the stories of the past, relive them, and bask in the glory of what it was or can be to this generation. There's a lot of emotion attached to anything that you're wearing and archived pieces bring just that.

Not to forget, fashion as a global industry has been under scrutiny for adding up to the piling pollution, massive carbon footprints, mass productions, and most of all fast fashion taking up everyone’s closet, Archive Fashion comes as a boon that it as an industry and the designers as individuals need. 

I'm concerned about what is globally happening, happening to the fashion industry. So I would actually like people to be more and more aware of why we should be recycling, archiving, and kind of re-styling our clothing more than just doing it for fun.

“Digging into fashion archives can be a lot of fun. It can educate you, and open your mind to a lot of silhouettes that you were not thinking about.” 


I don't think that Thrifting and Archive Fashion are different processes. A thrift shop is something that sells underpriced goods that belong from an old season. I would say that thrift shops are a process of archiving. They're a good place to go and dig in. They basically help you because they put it all together for you if you're looking for something specific. 

This article was a part of Social Kechup's March'2023 edition!

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Social Ketchup Magazine social ketchup vintage archives social ketchup magazine march 2023 leepika ellawadi