To a burgeoning band of fashion-minded urbanites, a cluttered design space offers plenty of diversity to navigate. From practical prêt to high-end artisanal and a lot in-between, fresh talents undoubtedly bring variety to the fashion front every season. Embracing the hard-to-impress world of style are these young designers who are scheduled to showcase their collections at Lakme Fashion Week that begins on March 29 in Mumbai. Featured under the coveted Gen Next category that involves an unsparing selection process, they are all set to sail into the big league of fashion. Here’s what they have to say about their collection, references and philosophy of design.
To New Delhi-based Aqdus Saleem, fashion is about subverting stereotypes. Ethnic isn’t boring, and modest isn’t humdrum, feels the designer, who blends elements from Islamic traditional wear with contemporary styles to create a different design vocabulary.
DESIGNER’S CUT: I call my line ‘The Modest Chapter’. It’s a showcase of my culture and sense of style. I want to break fashion stereotypes and show how a fully-covered look can actually enhance one’s beauty. While the modesty element of traditional attire is intact, the key elements of style come from the variations in silhouettes, excessive layering and creative patterning. Easy fit, flowing lines and out-of-the box style are what I’m thinking about.
Mumbai-based Agrima Batra has an eclectic sense of style. A student of the Parsons School of Design, New York, she is elated to be selected under the Gen Next category, in less than a year after graduating!
DESIGNER’S CUT: Mine is a made-in-Mumbai, refined-at-New York (Parsons School of Design) story. My collection is a cocktail of the exotic and the bold, stark monotones and vibrant overtones, and structure and graceful fluidity. I perceive clothes as an extension of one’s personality. Emotional, philosophical and cosmic energies are at the core of my design inspirations.
My collection, ‘To the Stars and Back’, progresses from chic day to evening wear. I want to create, not recreate. Originality is my strength. I’d like to focus on clothing that looks good on the outside, yet feels great on the inside. The USP of the line is that there is zero wastage. Every single scrap of fabric has been used to create a stunning pastiche.
Naveem Naaz Shaikh
Luxe dictates Naveem Naaz Shaikh’s creative instincts. Mixing a sybaritic aesthetic with a practical sense of style comes naturally to this Mumbai-based designer.
DESIGNER’S CUT: Mine is a denim story — only it’s different. I have used denim with silk, linen, etc. and spruced up the look with surface texturing using laser techniques. It’s playful and meant for someone who is not trying too hard to look fashionable! I like to re-search, mix old crafts with new trends and offbeat styles. The fact that I’m not trained at a fashion school helps me approach style in an unbridled way.
Sohaya Misra is a stickler for finish. She likes to check her works inside out, she confesses. As someone who wishes to “focus on the business of fashion as much as on its creative side”, it is not surprising that her creations veer towards accessible luxury.
DESIGNER’S CUT: My collection, ‘The Pyjama Tribe’, features easy-to-wear, edgy clothes with minute detailing. The fabrics used are textured linens and cottons. I don’t do embellishments in order to maintain the integrity of the fabric. The clothes can be layered in various ways, so they look different every time they are worn. As a stylist, this has been the key element in my design process.