The cool kids of Indian prêt

This is an exciting time to be a fashion designer in India. We have seen a shift on the runway in the past couple of years, from couture fashion and traditional wear to ready-to-wear. Indian ready-to-wear labels are more interesting than ever and cater to a strong need in the market. Young people are looking for high-fashion designs like the ones in fashion capitals like Paris and New York, and all these fresh designers with their edgy aesthetic are providing just that. Modern silhouettes, minimal cuts and neutral colours seem to be the trend in Indian prêt. Here is an introduction to some of the talented new players in the arena.

Hangar Atelier by Siddharth Shashankan

Hangar Atelier is a label created by Siddharth Shashankan, a graduate from the prestigious Raffles Design Institute, Singapore. His strong design ethic and talent has brought him many awards like the Customer’s Choice Award for the AIDS Awareness Project by the Health Promotion Board, Singapore. He also had the opportunity to display his work at prestigious shows like the Mercedes Benz Stylo Asia Fashion Week in Kuala Lumpur (December 2013) and at the Indonesia Fashion Week 2015 in Jakarta. The core of the brand lies in creating classic pieces, but with a modern aesthetic, which speaks in a highly individualistic manner. Siddharth is fond of working with different textures and fabrics, and creating something that is truly out of this world. His attention to detail and his drive for high quality has pushed him to create very technical and luxurious designs. His latest collection has been inspired by the exquisite Japanese art of Kintsukuroi. He has also chosen the tiger as the theme for his collection. Being at real risk of extinction, the tiger is becoming more than a symbol in his collection, with a message toward human actions. The predominant colours in his line are Frozen Raspberry, Louie Lilac and Sage, hand-dyed onto a range of pure silk crepes and satin. The attention to detail and craftsmanship are undeniably good. I think Siddharth is a force to be reckoned with in the Indian fashion scene.

Lovebirds by Amrita and Gursi

Behind this label is the talented duo of Amrita Khanna and Gursi Singh. Amrita is originally from Assam, but has lived in different parts of the country. She spent almost 10 years in London, where she received her diploma from London College of Fashion. Gursi is from Punjab, but has been living in Delhi for the past 10 years. He is a graphic and space designer. He has also been working as an art director in advertising. Since 2013, they have been working with synergy on their label. Their different backgrounds are very complementary. Gursi brings more structure and definition to the design, while Amrita exploits her fashion influence from London and her love for monochromatic themes. Their inspiration comes from simple things like decoration, architecture and Nature. Their designs are influenced by Japanese sophistication and Nordic minimalism. Their latest collection is pure, clean and tailored. The design and construction are strong, while the colour palette is soft, which creates a nice balance. Simplicity is often very hard to achieve, but Lovebirds knows how to master it. They deliver strong silhouettes that play around proportion and length. The monochromatic theme gives some freshness and lightness to the whole collection. They are definitely a power duo that offers high-end design.

Ikai by Ragini Ahuja

Launched in 2012, Ikai has already been on the Lakme Fashion Week’s catwalk multiple times. Behind this successful label, there is the talented Ragini Ahuja. She was born and raised in Delhi, where she attended the National Institute of Fashion Technology. Her designs are amalgamations of her upbringing and her travelling experiences. Being a graphic artist and an illustrator, her creations take root from her artworks, inspired by animals and flora that she translates into crisp, straight lines and geometric figures. You can definitely see her strong artistic edge in her latest collection. Ragini perfectly balances traditional techniques with a modern aesthetic. Her line offers very wearable pieces that look unique. I love that she keeps comfort in mind, but won’t sacrifice her vision by adorning the clothes with edgy illustrations and animated details. In her latest collection, the silhouettes look effortless and relaxed, and the colour palette is very soft. I really like the attention to detail and creativity behind this collection. Overall, she is a very inspiring designer who is changing the horizons of Indian prêt.

Huemn by Pranav and Shyma

Huemn has been in the spotlight the past couple of years. Behind this successful label there is another powerful duo, that of Pranav Mishra and Shyma Shetty. Pranav is from Lucknow and Shyma from Bangalore. When I asked Shyma what influenced her design aesthetic, she said, “What is a person but a sum total of her experiences?” You can already grasp a bit of her artistic genius from this response. Shyma sees her aesthetic as multidimensional, like the layers of an onion. Conversations, memories, people, art and books have shaped her sense of design. Her philosophy is definitely to stay true to herself and enjoy the beautiful journey she has set out on. Pranav is a true creative spirit. His inspiration, he says, is “very organic and fast-changing”. He is mostly inspired by change and chaos. “I don’t like settlement. Comfort is tiring. It makes me lazy. Chaos is fulfilling,” says Pranav.

We can definitely see their aesthetics shine through in their latest collection. It’s chic, chaotic, sexy and definitely refreshing. Fabrics like velvet and leather give a very luxurious feeling to the collection, which balances the modern edge of the silhouette. I love the Huemn Woman. She is strong and fearless, but still manages to stay feminine.

431-88 by Shweta Kapur

431-88 was created in 2012 and has already featured in Amazon Fashion Week A/W ’15. Behind the contemporary label is designer Shweta Kapur, a London College of Fashion graduate. Shweta is originally from Delhi, but a lot of her design influences come from New York, where she worked earlier. Her minimal and clean aesthetic might take its roots from growing up with a very organised mother and grandmother. The designer is also an avid reader, and draws inspiration from every subject. She loves to get inspired by stories and visuals, which result in colours, textures and structures. She has the talent to translate her inspiration into beautifully tailored designs — like her last fall collection, which was inspired by her falling down a manhole.

In this collection, you can see the pain from the fall as a print, and also the depth of the manhole through the long dresses and high-waisted pants. There is something very complex about simplicity. It’s knowing where to stop, as there is a difficult balance between boring and too much. Shweta knows exactly how to do that. She works with beautiful fabrics and her attention to detail and construction make the most minimal design interesting. The label also focuses on comfort with a sporty but chic silhouette, which caters to the needs of the modern urban woman.

Munkee.see.munkee.doo by Teresa and Utsav

Munkee.see.munkee.doo started as an offbeat high-street label with a modern, minimalist approach. Today, the duo, Teresa and Utsav, focuses on clean aesthetics and attention to detail, infusing modern innovations into classics and transforming them into contemporary, urban staples. Teresa and Utsav are from the beautiful states of Manipur and Sikkim respectively. Right from people they meet to places they visit, everything around them is a source of inspiration and creation. They absorb all the beauty of their daily life and infuse it into their designs, which are a mix of understated beauty, with a bit of street culture thrown in. They are not looking for perfection, but rather at uncomplicated things. Their latest collection is a reflection of their approach to design. It’s a mix of contrast between the old and new, masculine and feminine, elegant and relaxed. Personally, I like that their clothes are tailored, but have a rebellious edge to them. I love that they offer knitted pieces in their last collection. They represent the perfect blend between effortlessly urban and tailored chic.

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Printable version | Oct 21, 2021 9:26:11 AM |

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