Istani is a brand created to preserve and amplify South Asian heritage through fashion and textiles.
Islamic culture has been a major influence on South Asian culture since the 7th century when Arab merchants brought Islam to the subcontinent. Islamic Art itself isn’t restricted to a specific region or territory. In fact you can see the global influence of Islamic art through adaptation and re-interpretations of calligraphy, geometric patterns and arabesques.
Unbeknownst to many, Islam prohibits the use of human or animal representation in it’s art forms. So you can see why characteristics like repetition and illusion of infinity, symmetry and two dimensionality are used to represent the infinite form of life, nature and other worldly and other-worldly concepts.
The patterns that you see around you have a profound meaning beyond what the human eye can see at first glance.
If you’re curious about identifying Islamic art, look for shapes and patterns in a grid of polygons such as circles, triangles, squares, stars or hexagons.
The geometric ornamentation is mostly used to give an illusion that the pattern can be infinitely extended into space, showing that the frame is merely arbitrary, and that the pattern can continue even outside the realm of it’s frame, representing the infinite universe. Take our coloring books for example, the patterns can continue repetition even outside the pages.
While arabesques are mostly used to represent nature, shapes like an eight pointed star have a deeper meaning to it. Derived from the Moroccan region, khattam (an eight pointed star) is used as a concept to connect the guiding principles of Islam to the modern world.
But the beauty of it is that, the origins of the eight pointed star can be dated back to before the rise of Islam. Especially when it comes to the study of astrology and astronomy. The four points of the star actually represent the four cardinal points; east, west, north and south. While the shapes around them are the representation of the universe. Isn’t that just mind blowing?
What's more interesting is that all art containing geometric patterns can be seen as a reflection of universal and spiritual concepts.
At Istani, we use similar art in hopes to reflect the balance between self and the world around us. The textiles we use aren’t selected arbitrarily. They are meant to make the wearer ponder the infinite possibilities that exist around us.
This is our heritage. This is our diaspora.
We are made up of many influences and varieties of art that have been passed down through centuries; be it architecture, paintings, sculpture or textile printing and we are so prideful and grateful to continue adding to this cultural fabric.
Shop the Printed Shift Dress in our store.