It’s Owl About Fashion

In 2012, when Justin Bieber sported a new owl tattoo on his arm, he was only affirming a trend that had taken the fashion and design world by storm. For the owl motif had entered contemporary design soon after Hedwig, Harry Potter’s devoted pet, flew into popular consciousness in 2001. It began with the upsurge in bird motifs in the mid-2000s — and once the design world had had enough of sparrows, cranes and flamingoes, the nocturnal bird took centre stage.

In India, across home décor stores, the owl can now be seen occupying pride of place on napkins and blankets, tea cups and glasses, on watches, coin purses and cushion covers. It can come in kitschy or whimsical versions, or in more sophisticated avatars. “Around 2009, when I was in New York, I saw an artist work on an owl sketch in his kiosk. It stayed with me, and when I returned to India, I did a design for a phone cover and a notebook. I was stunned at how well it did. Since then, every year, we have done a couple of owl motifs across product ranges and it continues to be one of our hotsellers,” says Krsnaa Mehta, the designer behind the online décor brand, India Circus. Across its range, the owl motif features on door mats, notebooks, cushion covers and phone covers, among other things.


In 2011, when designer Aditi Bajpai launched her label Almirah, a brand that specialises in children’s clothing, bedding and accessories, she wanted it to champion everything Indian. “I am greatly inspired by Indian jungles and wanted to bring old Indian motifs back. India’s connect with the owl goes a long way back. It’s goddess Lakshmi’s vahana, you find stories of the wise owl in the Panchatantra. We have had the owl long before JK Rowling made it popular,” she says. Bajpai has been working with the owl motif for the last two years and has now diversified from prints on nightwear to cushions shaped like owls and owl embroideries.

No Comments Yet

Comments are closed