By Chelsea Manansala
Nat Bajwa's inspiration is derived from her passion for music and art. She values fashion as a form of expression and believes functionality shouldn’t be sacrificed for aesthetic.
Cave Eyes is a functional streetwear collection for women who are tired of being dragged down by extra baggage. These women should to be able to attend a concert or event right straight after work without any extra hassle. The pieces from Cave Eyes allow her to focus on life’s experiences, rather than where she’s going to keep her belongings.
Cave Eyes will be unveiled at 2018 The Show presented by Tamoda Apparel Inc., on April 19 and 20 at Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s (KPU) new purpose-built Wilson School of Design building. The beautiful and innovative $36-million building houses a range of design programs including the fashion-design-and-technology program. Thirty-one other lines by KPU fashion design and technology students will also be showcased.
Chelsea Manansala: Describe you collection.
Nat Bajwa: Cave Eyes is a functional streetwear brand for women who want to commute smart. All my pieces contain pockets to make travel easy and efficient.
CM: Who or what was the inspiration behind your line?
NB: Outside of fashion, one of my biggest passions is music. I’m an avid concertgoer and have been introduced to an amazing community of people because of it. I found I was always having similar conversations with friends before every show: "What are you wearing? Are you bringing a purse?" A lot of the time, none of us wanted to carry a purse but we also didn’t have proper pockets in what we wanted to wear.
In general, I don’t like to carry a bag because I find it more of a hassle than helpful—especially when seeing a show. At some venues, bag check isn’t always available or is an added cost. I find that a lot of streetwear is connected to the hip-hop community, and there aren’t as many options for more alternative groups, such as those interested rock or punk music.
Wearing band T-shirts is popular in these communities, but it isn’t really possible to build a whole wardrobe from that. I wanted to create something that could stand alone or be mixed into the pre-existing band merchandise realm.
CM: How do you set yourself apart from other designers?
NB: I think it’s the element of music being directly part of the scene I want to service. I experience the issues I'm trying to address firsthand, so it takes out the middleman. While I’m interested in all types of music, I lean more specifically toward alternative and pop-punk music.
The local scene in Vancouver is bigger than others may expect with many local shows and bands. Being a part of this community has introduced me to many amazing people and even more experiences that have shaped me into who I am today. I love fashion, but I love the fact that I can combine so many of my interests with it.
CM: What are your plans after graduation?
NB: I hope to find fulfilling work that will provide me with new skills and experiences that I haven’t learnt from in the past four years. While working, I will continue part-time with Cave Eyes and possibly grow it in the future. I also hope to take some time to myself to travel and gain new experiences.
CM: What aspect of design are you most passionate about?
NB: I think the best part of design is being able to create something to fix a problem or fill a need. I think that fashion is often looked at as purely aesthetic when it can be so much more than that. I think we have this platform to create a new norm and I intend to use it to the best of my ability.
Chelsea Manansala is a final-year fashion design and technology student at KPU’s Wilson School of Design.