“Ekà is clothing for everyday luxury, made to be lived in, loved, and worn again" - Rina Singh Founder and Designer, EKA
After 11 long years, EKA finally opened a retail store in Delhi's upmarket Lodhi Market. A brand known for its ethos of simple living, the flagship store is reminiscent of Rina's upbringing amongst a family of agriculturalists. While building the brand, Eka founder Rina Singh's motivation was to create a brand centred on her love for people, nature, and craft. Over the years, she has further strengthened the ethos of EKA, and the brand stands out for its use of traditional local techniques, textiles, and craftsmanship fabrics featuring natural fibres; and clothing that is timeless, languid, and easy. Ekà is clothing for everyday luxury, made to be lived in, loved, and worn again. The Style List spoke to Rina Singh to know what motivated her to finally open a retail space in the national capital.
Take us through your brand journey
The journey is ongoing.. although the last decade has posed some challenges and also created some opportunities. As the creative head and founder of EKA, I make a lot of decisions intuitively. Every few years, we need to re-imagine our universe, re-evaluate our strategy, be relevant to the consumer, and be consistent in the deliverance of core principles; sustainability, craft and textile focus. The idea is to keep our language fresh. With the store opening, I feel this is a fresh beginning after culminating all lessons from the past decade.
If you were to describe the EKA ideology and aesthetic in a few sentences what would it be?
Ekà is clothing for everyday luxury, made to be lived in, loved, and worn again. Our designs are meant to celebrate the small, everyday luxuries with distinctive pieces made in fluid cuts and natural fabrics, and punctuated by thoughtful details. Each piece is designed to be seasonless and timeless, with an irreverence for boundaries of shape and age to offer clothing that is globally relevant.
Why did you pick Lodhi as a location for your flagship store as opposed to flourishing spots like the Dhan Mill and Mehrauli?
We’ve been thinking about retail for a while, but the biggest constraint was finding the right location in Delhi. EKÁ belongs to the old-world charm and nostalgia of yesteryears. I romanticise crafts and bygone eras' aesthetics through my collections and Lodhi renders itself beautifully to that thought. The post-colonial architecture, long corridors, well-lit backyard, light falling through the facade, and a quaint slow vibe make it a good fit.
Tell us a little about the inspiration behind the store design and interiors.
In our homes, in the old mansion in the village, there's always a room with many windows that would recirculate air and thus replicate an air-conditioned room, it was called 'the mahal'. It was also the most decorated room and only open to the esteemed inhabitants of the guests, or my mother and other women of the house would sit there in summer afternoons. It used to have the limestone walls and marbled floor .. mostly white, with glass windows to look out. There's a memory of that place in the rendering of the interior that I recreated and contemporarised. A room from an old architectural structure recreated in the middle of a New Delhi market designed with a postcolonial aesthetic.
How is the brand philosophy depicted in the store?
Through architectural references of old techniques and buildings we have explored traditional techniques like - limestone walls, terrazzo flooring reclaimed wood for furniture, just like craft and sustainability are so relevant to my work and collections.
Tell us about your new collection.
We are launching Autumn Winter 23 called - 'Ladakh'. We work extensively with woven textiles in wool. Although winters across the world and particularly in India are only restricted to two months, we do enjoy working with Woollen textiles. We have worked with rich jewel-toned colours in textured wool, twill and herringbone weaves. adding chambray and melange effects to colours, playing with layers and subtle embroidery details. Adding variation with woven stripes and big and small checks. The mountains and the valleys; the rivers and the streams; the wind and the sky; the never-ending roads and cluster of monasteries atop mountains; the lights burning in the stupas through the drives and lights blinking through the night in far-off villages... the vastness of Ladakh, brings out an element of provenance in the collections. The connection with the elements of nature exudes a free spirit of being and surrender.
What are some of the future plans at EKÁ?
We are now foraying into retail. This will be an important growth for the for years to follow. We have categories like - EKÁ man, EKÁ core, EKÁ home, and EKÁ kids. We will bring all under one roof and promote EKÁ as a lifestyle brand.