South Asian-American textile designer and artist, Sheena Sood, is sharing her Indian heritage through her fashion label, Abacaxi (@abacaxinyc)—which is the Portuguese word for pineapple. The name and what it symbolizes reflects Sood’s design tendencies towards the bright, the bold, and the playful. “Pineapples are a beautiful symbol across several different cultures,” explains Sood. “It symbolizes joy and happiness. I hope that when people wear my clothes, they do feel that sense of contentment and joy and happiness.”
Sood’s parents were born in India, but they moved to the US where Sood was raised. Growing up, Sood would travel to India to visit family, and it was on these trips that she discovered her desire to become a designer. “I remember just experiencing this stark difference in the way that people dress [in India] versus where I grew up in the US,” says Sood. “The use of color, the sense of design, it informed a lot about my life and also my work as a designer.”
Now, Sood reflects on her time in India as a source of inspiration for her collections. “My sense of color comes back to being exposed to traveling in India and the use of color in our culture,” explains the designer. “I love Indian maximalism and all of that saturation. It’s so different and that’s really what inspires me.”
While honoring her Indian heritage is a huge part of Abacaxi, sustainability is just as much a part of the label. “We work with a regenerative cotton farm in India,” notes Sood. “Regenerative organic cotton, it’s simply just the way that cotton was farmed in the ancient times. It really restores the land, but also yields a better crop at the same time.”
Whether it’s the sustainable organic cotton farm in India, or integrating traditional practices, aesthetics, and techniques into her collections, it’s important to Sood that she works with other people from her culture and honors that culture. “It’s important for me to work with other people from my culture—other South Asians—in my work because you really don’t see us that much,” says the designer. “I’m really happy to be a part of that change.”
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