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Fashion
February 20, 2017

In Conversation With: Ragini Ahuja At London Fashion Week

Text by Sadaf Shaikh

5 emerging Indian designers, supported by IMG Reliance, took home the award for the Best International Fashion Showcase at London Fashion Week. Here’s a look at their work, influences, and creative techniques

How have you incorporated the theme of ‘The Indian Pastoralists’ in your showcase?
“The Indian Pastoralists allude to a community that has a very strong belief in the purity of sustainable fashion. The tribe that I have taken inspiration from are called the Drokpas and they’re found on the foothill of the Himalayas. I’ve taken cues from their ideology and dressing and merged it with the aesthetic of my label. The resulting product is a seamless amalgamation of my signature anti-fit silhouette and eco-friendly fashion.”

What are the elements that influenced your collection?
“The Drokpas are a very small tribe — there are only 1800 of them in total. However, they are fanatics of the concept of purity, in that they don’t even mingle outside their tribe. Even their attire is entirely constituted of natural flora and fauna, which is why they dress up in beautiful sheepskin capes and adorn their hair with flowers. My inspiration for this collection stems from their fixation with a complete lack of adulteration.”

Whom do you design for?
“My designs are for the woman who respects the traditional narrative of an Indian garment that is given the familiarity of a global approach.”

How have you maintained a balance between an Indian and global aesthetic?
“I believe traditional techniques that are interpreted in a contemporary manner produce elegant results. I’ve always used traditional motifs that have been treated with a global ideology. I did not have to adapt my collection to that aesthetic — it comes across very naturally in most of my designs.”

What are the techniques and textiles used?
“I have used cotton, silk and Himalayan wool in their most raw state. For the inner dress, I’ve employed cotton and silk and developed a very light handwoven fabric. It was developed in Chanderi in Madhya Pradesh along with a hand weaver, who embroidered and beaded it with flowers and silver pearls. The outer jacket was fully handwoven with Himalayan silk and wool to make it light and warm. The capes have also been woven with sheep leather to give it the impression of sheepskin, which is a Dhokpa staple.”

London is…
“The best place for organic fast food!”

A show that you would want to attend at London Fashion Week…
“Hussein Chalayan for his global perspective and creative innovation.”

Read about Ujjawal Dubey’s installation here

Read about Kaleekal’s installation here.

Read about Karishma Shahani’s installation here.

Read about Priyanka Lama’s installation here.

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