Fashion

Men in the slow lane: Amit Babbar’s debut menswear collection

Itoh is all about perfecting the details

Delhi-based designer, Amit Babbar, admits that he is extremely nervous. And with good reason: this weekend, he is launching his new menswear label, Itoh, at Sanjay Garg’s Raw Mango store in Mumbai. “I’m an introvert who prefers everything to be simple and subtle. Sanjay is a long-time friend who pushed me to start. He played a very important role in the release of this collection,” says Babbar.

The 37-year-old, who has lived all his life in Delhi, started his career by working in apparel manufacturing. He credits the experience for instilling in him a passion for garment construction. His company, Realm Clothing, works almost exclusively with Japanese labels such as Maison de soil and Tsumari Chisato.

Culture of craft

On his decision to foray into designing, Babbar says, “I was waiting for the right time. I believe slow fashion is the need of the hour, and the language of aesthetics in men’s fashion in India is long overdue. A lot of menswear today is trend-driven and doesn’t place enough emphasis on the construction and detailing of a garment. I started out by designing clothes for my friends and myself, but with Itoh, I decided to enter the market.”

Itoh (pronounced ee-toh, derived from the Japanese word ito, meaning thread), features a range of comfortable fit garments in earthen tones, focusing on proportion, fit and finer details. A classic shirt is priced at approximately ₹8,000, and jackets and full suits from ₹30,000. Pants range from ₹10,000 to ₹12,000. By focusing on the conventions of classical silhouettes, the collection is an homage to thoughtful craftsmanship.

Past perfect

“Despite the name, I wouldn’t call Itoh a Japanese-influenced brand,” Babbar says. “The most important thing that I have learned from them is the understanding and the appreciation of detailing and construction. Travelling through Japan, I was amazed by the amount of care and emphasis placed on even a small item like a button or trimming. That’s the ethos of our brand and the language we want to introduce to the market,” he adds.

With fabric sourced from around India (including compact poplin from Chennai and handwoven cotton silks from Kolkata), his work highlights this relentless pursuit. He describes his work as being influenced by the spirit of vintage clothing, saying, “I don’t have any people that I would call influences. History is my biggest influence. I love reading about vintage men’s clothing and seeing museum exhibits about fashion.”

Currently, Babbar does not plan to sell his collection online. “I see Itoh very much as a capsule line, and I won’t be releasing a full-fledged collection any time soon,” he explains. “We have, however, already started working on the Fall/Winter collection, adding fabrics such as wool,” he concludes.

Itoh will be available at Raw Mango’s Colaba store in Mumbai from today. 65099333

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Printable version | May 27, 2020 11:34:35 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/fashion/amit-babbars-debut-menswear-collection/article23391278.ece

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