Joe Ikareth - the man and his Kochi boutigue
Joe Ikareth – the man and his Kochi boutigue

The Gallery at Cobblestone Gallery (and its sister shop at The Needlemakers in Lewes) are proud to be the only stockists in the UK to have been allowed to stock a range of wonderful Indian couture cottons by a talented designer called Joe Ikareth, based in Kochi, Kerala.

I travelled to Fort Kochi in March 2015 to meet Joe and was lucky enough to be invited to meet him both at his store in the city and, after travelling through the lovely Keralan backwaters, at nearby  Kotayam where he has his atelier. There I was able to meet three of his four full time team members – it was great to see to see real craftsmen at work!

Born in 1974, Joe Ikareth studied design at the National Institute of Fashion Technology in New Delhi where he obtained the prize for the ‘Best Design Collection’ of 1996. He then perfected his skills with the couturier Suneet Varma – during this time he got involved with creating costumes for various contemporary dance performances. Movement became an integral part of his designs to follow.

After his first collection was presented In 2000, Joe decided to relocate to Kerala, his native land, where he created his eponymously named own label. His first collection was presented in Paris in 2001 at the Studio Cirque as a catwalk show where the dancers, acrobats jugglers and contortionists performed in his collection. Collections and show pieces followed around India and France and his Kochi boutique opened in late 2006.

Inspired by traditional Kerala fabrics, his cotton handloom collection employs the creamy coolness of this hand woven fabric. Fusing clean lines and intricate detail, the bias-cut dresses, structured tunics, corset tops and quirky skirt-trousers showcase Joe’s dexterous creativity. These clothes are pleasurable to wear and a delight to look at.

It’s part of that classic collection that will be available in The Gallery from June 2015 and showcased on the cat walk at The Most Spectacular Fashion Show in Worthing on the 25th June.