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June 06, 2018

Here’s What Nitin Bal Chauhan Was Up To While We Thought He Was MIA

Text by Saumya Sinha

After a celebrated comeback on the catwalk, Nitin Bal Chauhan expounds modest fashion and sustainability and explains how the two will be the major focal points of his work

If there was one designer whose work we were all eagerly waiting to see a glimpse of at Amazon India Fashion Week, it was Nitin Bal Chauhan. The fashion savant, who last showcased on the Indian runway in 2013 presented a collection, which was a comment on the growing immigration crisis of the world and the politics around it. We caught up with the designer to find out what he’s been up to and all that he is gearing up for in the coming seasons…

His latest collection showcased at Amazon India Fashion Week centres around the current immigration issue in the world.

“My latest collection, Baadal Aa Gaye, talks about the immigration crisis in world politics. Millions of people becoming homeless and their lives getting displaced — that is the emotion I have tried to capture. The idea was to create clothes with volume, to bring out a feeling of loneliness, fear, and shock. The techniques that have been used include displaced seams, shifted pockets and plackets, inside out styles, quilting, fabric manipulation techniques, and draping.” 

Although he has been MIA from the runway for years, his tryst with the catwalk never took a hiatus.

“Fashion has always excited me and has been my strength. Whether I showed on the runway or not, I have always been connected to it through off location shows, and so on. I was thrilled to show on the runway in Delhi at the Amazon India Fashion Week again and was very happy to see a well-received show. The collaboration with Honor Lite9 was meaningful, as I presented some wearable technology concepts in my clothing and accessories line. This is something that we are developing at my studio, to help understand the scope of fashion in future.” 

While we were busy browsing through modest fashion on Instagram, Chauhan was wooing the fashion patrons at Jakarta Fashion Week and more.

“I represented India at Jakarta Fashion Week S/S 18, which was a great experience. That country has the most fashion-savvy population in the world. We are in the process of exploring the potential of new markets for modest clothing. This was the main reason for me to showcase at Jakarta. I have collaborated and helped launch brands like Walt Disney and Cutty Sark Whiskey in India. I am also launching our flagship store in Delhi this month at Ambawata One, Mehrauli, which has become the hub for designer stores in India.” 

Chauhan is in the process of creating socially responsible products ranging from daily wear to luxury solutions and is establishing itself as one of the major players of wedding couture in India.

“NBC Fusion (luxury pret and couture) is an occasion wear line catering to celebrations/wedding segment. Detailed pointillist hand embroidery and contemporary silhouettes are the USP of this line. Hence, every piece is a work of art, literally. I spend hours and days creating huge artworks, which are then tediously transferred on to the clothing by hand. Product diversification in this line is keeping us busy. Through the course of the next 10 seasons, we want to change the landscape of fashion in India and abroad. NBC Fusion is targeted towards the HNI population of India. The high net-worth individual (HNI) population is supposed to grow by 100 per cent in the next five to seven years.

The main idea behind NBC Sustain is to make handmade products relevant for today and tomorrow. Our main objective is to improve the quality of raw materials, design and production and to market it well. I have worked closely with the handloom and handicraft sector of Himachal Pradesh in the past and also worked extensively with hand printing and dying techniques like shibori, tie-dye, batik from other states. I work with man-made natural fibres like modal, bamboo silk, pineapple fibres, and organic cotton. For this line, we source our fabrics from weavers in order to support their livelihoods. This fabric does not produce any carbon footprint. We are currently working on creating marketing and design solutions for craft clusters of Himachal Pradesh. NBC Sustain is committed to reviving and creating marketing solutions for our indigenous crafts and tradition. It will keep on taking challenging roles in the fashion industry and work towards finding solutions. This line is for every woman, and it will need socially-conscious independent women from all walks of life to promote and wear it.”

Away from the spotlight, his joint venture, with two of his childhood friends from Shimla, called Himalayan People Pvt Ltd is an initiative, which is instrumental in creating, curating and marketing unique products from the Himalayan region in India and overseas.

“We own three brands: Palampore teas (a line of Kangra tea and infusions), Himachilli (a line of chili paste) and Woolah (collection of accessories like bags, socks, stoles, mittens, and caps). At present, we retail our products across all leading online marketplaces and leading supermarkets in India.”

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