Fashion Forward: These young designers are ready to reimagine the future
“In terms of design, I think Indian fashion is undergoing a transformation in its narratives. Eurocentric ideas of what is expected of an Indian designer on a global platform are changing,” says Kahkasha Sidra. As they negotiate the many Indias that have emerged due to the proliferation of digital content, especially social media, young designers like Sidra are building identities and creating work in response to this multiplicity and the need for unique individual explorations of fashion aesthetics, even if it means opening up uncomfortable dialogues.
Along with Sidra, we spoke to four other recent graduates of the National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT), Delhi, to understand what drives their imaginations and the perceptions they hope to alter as they move forward in their careers.
Anya Wahi, for instance, turns a critical eye towards the societal limitations that also dictate the “rules” of the fashion industry — a space where self-expression is often intruded upon, particularly when it veers too far from the status quo. Speaking about one of her favourite designs from her collection, she says, “As a transgender woman who is currently in the middle of legally transitioning, there are so many instances where I have to prove my womanhood, my transness, and I am genuinely exhausted by it. To me, this look says, ‘I am who I am, and I am unafraid of being perceived any other way’. It has taken me a while to get there.”
Besides bringing diverse approaches to conceptualising fashion collections, particularly through redefinitions of what is considered to be “Indian”, these designers in their early twenties are also innovating with techniques and materials as they find their niches: Sidra with embroidery and engineered printing on leather; Wahi with laser cutting and micro pleating; Anmol Venkatesh with upcycled fabrics; Purvasha Singh with metal, knits and hand crocheting; and Anusha Parashar with experimental surfaces like paper, latex and bubble wrap .
Verve takes you through their graduation projects, revealing five minds that thrive on the exchange of ideas and have a clear vision for the future of Indian fashion.
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