India's premier luxury lifestyle women's magazine
Fashion
August 12, 2013

Fusion Femmes

Text by Shirin Salwan.

Making the fashion headlines are a wave of designers whose creations are a reflection of Indian modern chic. ‘Indian-ness’ is no longer defined only by ornate embroideries or conservative silhouettes. The fabric is indigenous, the cut unmistakably contemporary. Shirin Salwan interacts with designers from different corners of the country and talks to them about their creative journey, desi influences and the changing face of Indian fashion

QUIRK CREATOR
KARISHMA SHAHANI, PUNE

ONE WORD TO SUM UP YOUR CREATIONS
Non-conformist.

MINIMALIST OR OTT
Minimally OTT!!

INDIAN STYLE ICON
Don’t have one in particular. There are so many people who may or may not be famous but have an inherent flair to dress individualistically even while doing the most mundane chores.

STEREOTYPES YOU FACE
A fashion designer runs a ‘boutique’ that stocks ‘anarkalis’, ‘kurtas’ and ‘saris’ at any given time.

SOMETHING ABOUT THE INDIAN DESIGN SCENE THAT YOU WISH TO CHANGE
More than change I wish for a more aware situation. A situation where design helps people carve identities and find their individuality.

PEOPLE’S REACTION TO YOUR DESIGNS
We fit into a niche market of people who are more design and detail sensitive. Our garments are alternate and do not conform to set rules and trends and our customers are those willing to experiment. We work a lot with surface techniques and hand-illustrated print development and details that compel people to be intrigued. We love sharing our stories and perceive the collections as mediums to do the same. As a culture, we are design-centric but in very influenced ways where trends and rules are followed quite strictly and tend to confuse westernization with modernisation.

UP NEXT
A full-fledged recycle/up-cycle label called ‘Heart to Haat’ that focuses on discarded fabrics and garments that are given a second life. And a lot more work to support our hand-crafted and story based initiative.

TEXTILE TRIPPER
SWATI KALSI, NEW DELHI

JOURNEY SO FAR
Growing up I always watched my mother’s keen eye and the effort to make things beautiful–be it textiles, clothes or interiors. That first triggered my interest in design.As I was always fascinated by traditional textiles, I started working with traditional artisans and attempting one-off pieces of garments that could highlight their exceptional skills and craftsmanship.

THE CRAFT AND YOUR INTERFACE WITH IT
Emerging layers, diluting depths, gradations and rhythm in nature always caught my eye and has gradually become my vocabulary for ornamentation. The surface created in Sujani (an embroidery tradition from Bihar), out of simple running stitches, moving in transient intensities, sizes and colours suggest natural processes and also reflect the spirit of the creator. This fuelled my interest to explore texture.

INDIAN STYLE ICON
Of the well known personalities, Maharani Gayatri Devi, Indira Gandhi, Gulzar and Rabindranath Tagore are those who’ve always had a very strong individual sense of style.

WEARING YOUR DESIGNS
Enthusiasts who really appreciate contemporary Indian handcrafts.

ABOUT THE INDIAN DESIGN SCENE THAT YOU WISH TO CHANGE
A lot more activism and participation at many different levels. Design should be able to enhance more lives.

THE INDIAN INFLUENCE
India is probably the richest in the whole world in terms of its textile traditions. I also find the Indian silhouettes interesting. For example, it is fascinating to see how people dress in the hills. They create their own textiles and stitch their own garments in silhouettes that are beautiful yet functional.

INDIAN EVOLVEMENT WHEN IT COMES TO FASHION
Indians have always had a keen eye and an evolved sense of aesthetic, historically. But in the last century or more, there have been much bigger issues that needed and captured people’s attention in India than fashion or design, holistically speaking. Over the last couple of decades, with the economic development we have been revisiting and relooking at our own history in a new light and have also been noticing the rest of the world. We can certainly hope to witness a unique kind of evolution in this country with each passing day.

VINTAGE CHARMER
ARCHANA RAO, HYDERABAD

ONE WORD THAT SUMS UP YOUR CREATIONS
My label Frou Frou is definitely classic.

YOUR DESIGN INFLUENCES
I am majorly influenced by movies, music, travel and people. I like working with different textures and developing new techniques of fabric manipulation, with simple and classic silhouettes. Preserving my love for ‘all things vintage’, I am constantly looking for beautifully distressed fabric and trims for inspiration and revival.

MINIMALIST OR OTT
Minimalistic any day.

YOUR CLOTHES REFLECT AN INDIAN OR GLOBAL SPIRIT
I think my clothes are very Indian in their origin and inspiration but the overall garments are global in their wearability

CONCEPT OR PRESENTATION
Conceptualisation is my favorite part of the design process; I love the idea of story-telling. So all my collections have deep concepts that I have a great personal connect with.

WEARING YOUR DESIGNS
I see smart and intelligent women, who enjoy fashion but don’t take it too seriously. Basically bringing in a bit of their own personality into everything they wear.

SOMETHING ABOUT THE INDIAN DESIGN SCENE THAT YOU WISH TO CHANGE
I wish to change the way people look at unconventional material and incorporate them into their everyday life.

THE INDIAN INFLUENCE
I find our history most inspiring; from lifestyle choices to costumes, India has constantly been changing and these details inspire me greatly. I collect a lot of old family portraits and collectibles and incorporate those details into my work.

FASHION YOU WOULD NEVER DO
I would not make products that I don’t see myself wearing.

PRINT PRINCESS
SNEHA ARORA, KOLKATA

JOURNEY SO FAR
Tough, thrilling, exciting, challenging and satisfying!

ONE WORD TO SUM UP YOUR CREATIONS
Detailed.

FOLLOW TRENDS OR CREATE YOUR OWN
Follow basic global trends because I feel it’s great to synchronises with fashion around the world, in a style that is your own.

CONCEPT OR PRESENTATION
The concept is the soul and presentation is the skin. For me neither has value without the other. A good concept is justified only when presented well.

INDIAN DESIGN INFLUENCE
A lot of English influences in India inspire my designs. Vintage British architecture, old books, Anglo-Indian artifacts; a lot of my concepts are derived from what I read in the newspapers or what has been happening around me in the country.

INDIAN EVOLVEMENT WHEN IT COMES TO FASHION
Fashion is changing and so is the awareness of the Indian consumers. They are definitely evolving as a lot of international brands are coming to the country and they are getting the taste of global fashion. It would take time for a larger section to start appreciating fashion and design and becoming more conscious towards them, but it is definitely in process.

FASHION YOU WOULD NEVER DO
Plagiarise someone else’s concept.

UP NEXT
A lot more detailing and accessories coming up along with the new collection.

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