Areez Katki

— Handmade and well-traveled

"First I moved to Spain (during which I visited Morocco several times), then a few months in Portugal, a few months in Budapest followed by an entire summer around Eastern Europe. Then I moved back to Spain, then to France and then spent five months in Turkey (travelling through several countries around the middle east - Lebanon, Israel, Jordan). After that I went to spend a couple of months travelling around India and then came back 'home' to New Zealand last year." Rajasthan, Portugal, Nantes and Jaipur.

I've been admiring Areez Katki's photos, particularly his travels across Asia and Europe. Who get's to visit so many different places?! Whenever I return to Berlin after being away, I'm amused by the European architecture but after a week, I get tired of looking at the same building styles. Areez's photos provide a variety of atmospheres from the Middle East and India, along with places across Europe.

"Jantar Mantar, Jaipur. Architectural astronomical instruments operating within classical celestial coordinates. Completed in 1738"

Backpacking through Western Europe was once considered traveling. Now, it's considered more of a field trip. Well-traveled is about spending time in a variety of cultures that aren't next door to each other.

Only recently did I look closer at Areez's natural clothing line. His hand made clothing reflects the warm style I find in many of his photos. Sometimes I feel like I can pin point the inspiration behind a detail, be it texture, color or shape, to a specific photo, whether it's an afternoon lounging about in the sun, a snap of botanical foliage, or an architectural detail on a heritage landmark.

On the lines and shape: "They don't represent any one thing in particular. That was actually the point - to evoke admiration from the viewer's eye by leaving these thoughtful synaesthesic marks on pieces of historic, hand-crafted fabric." Work in progress, linen upholstery series and a collection of abstract shapes.

Use of sustainable and natural fibers is one of the main demands today, but beyond meeting these requirements, Areez allows us into the creative aspects behind his designs. The transparency we value, in knowing where our products are sourced, is taken a step further, as he shows us where his ideas sprout from.

You can trust that each piece is original, derived from personal travel rather than from a sampling of flat images online. The designs are the result of traversing many places. Each garment embodies a range of travel experiences, different atmospheres.

"I learned to knit when I was around 7 years old. My maternal grandmother taught me this craft, among others - it was around then that I started to cultivate an interest in things we wear, use and create with our hands." A knit in progress.

"Most of the fibres I use are carefully researched, chosen and treated to avoid any wastage or environmentally damaging byproducts. I've also used wool from several NZ sheep breeds (Merino, Polwarth, Canterbury, Gotland etc), recycled & organic silks, linen, alpaca and have recently come to terms with adding some Possum fibre into the mix for my next Winter collection in 2017."

As someone unfamiliar with New Zealand, where Areez is based, I assumed possums were native to both Australia and New Zealand. However, the possum was introduced to New Zealand from Australia in 1837. They're considered a serious pest because there are no predators. Ecological consciousness is considered when using possum fibers, but it comes in an unexpected way.

"ecologically conscious and ethically sourced fibres have always been my interest" The textures on this scarf look similar to the zig zag petals. Shapes and a knit top.

"It took me very long to come to terms with using it, as I am all for sustainability & animal rights. However in light of the fact that possums are a pest in New Zealand; they destroy native habitats, plants and harm several protected species of native bird life. I found that using their pelts (which are then spun into yarn) as a byproduct of habitat-preserving/culling was appropriate and warranted to make sure that no resources are wasted - I think it is okay only when conducted ethically and within New Zealand."

Areez Katki's collections are available at areezkatki.co. View his journal and @areezkatki for travel photos.

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