To New Delhi-based Vivek Narang, textile is the soul of any garment

‘I'm not a fashion designer, my forte lies in textiles,” says Vivek Narang as he settles down for a chat during the launch of his new line at Amethyst.

If you are looking for wispy, body-loving confections, Narang is certainly not your type. But if you think style is a meticulous journey by the designer and his client beyond the frills of fashion, then the creations of this National School of Design alumnus could make it to your wardrobe.

“I've been showing my lines in Chennai for the past five years. The fact that discerning shoppers have accepted my label proves that there is a crowd out here that appreciates work-intensive hand skills and off-beat experiments with traditional textiles,” says the designer, whose new line is about colour and detailing.

“This time round, I've over-dyed the fabrics and also used colour blocks to give them an interesting feel in terms of colour-play and texture.” While the fabrics are soft and caressing, Narang's styling is simple and straight-forward. “My cuts are generally streamlined and free of fuss. I want the textile to do the talking,” explains the designer, who revels in pleating, pin tucks, appliqué and traditional embroidery for his tunics, kurtas, overcoats and sherwanis. His patchwork scarves, with the inventive use of textiles and craft techniques, reflect his overt nod to hand skills.

Slipping into a contemplative mood, the designer says, “I've been working with textiles for the past two decades. The sad thing is that the master craftsman's place in today's world is slowly becoming insignificant. He is under so much pressure because dwindling patronage is forcing his own folks to seek other avenues of employment. Designers must evolve a formula to combine the best of the East and the West. That's the USP of my collection.”

So is this happy marriage of East and West what made Bianca Jagger pick up his clothes and Uma Thurman appreciate his label? Smile follows, and Narang asks, “What's new about Indian labels abroad if the indigenous stamp is missing?” Incidentally, the designer's creations are available at leading fashion outlets in London, Rome and New York.

Surprisingly, Narang's fascination with textiles does not stop with India. He has experimented with traditional fabrics from places such as Central Asia, Cambodia and Thailand. “I'm not an Internet person when it comes to references. I love to visit museums in different places and have a closer look at textiles.”

Vivek Narang's line is being showcased at Amethyst, Whites Road, till December 29.          

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