In India, fashion for men is limited mostly to formal/ wedding wear. However, young designer Ujjawal Dubey’s men’s clothing line is meant for every occasion. Edgy drapes and cuts with a dash of layering, the designs are characterised by combining the traditional with Western.
Dubey will be presenting his latest collection titled Begin at Lakme Fashion Week Winter/ Festive 2018, taking place in Mumbai from August 22-26. Talking about the concept, he says that the collection is a presentation of the stylised idea of festive and everyday wear, with an exciting mix of subtle prints and de-constructed metallic embroideries.
Dubey, who is known to use mostly a monochrome theme in his work like greys, blacks and even pastels, says, “The dark shades of black, navy and military green in my new collection add intensity to the line which is then interrupted by the metallic details. A hint of mustard lends an energetic and eclectic vibe to Begin.”
The silhouettes are a mix of layered drapes along with classics, in sync with his signature style. Talking about the inspiration behind his collection he says, “Acceptance of the conventional and yet a departure from it can be seen in the new line which leads us to the sweet spot of rebellion versus tradition... It is inspired by the human emotions that tend to make us break away and still keep us rooted.”
But here’s an interesting twist to Dubey’s design story — he never planned on getting into the fashion industry. A graduate from NIFT, Kolkata, with a specialisation in Textile Design, his road to fashion was slightly winding. He says, “I was more into product design and fashion was never really a part of my plan.” Dubey considers himself a designer who makes products, which, in his case, happens to be clothing. “So technically I am still into design, and fashion just happened,” he quips.
His fashion label is called Antar-Agni which means ‘the fire within’. The entire process of him getting into fashion designing took a lot of self realisation and introspection which eventually led to self expression, because of which he decided to come up with such a unique name for his label.
“Antar-Agni is more of a perspective, which focuses on two extremes — to break away and yet embrace the mundane. It is based on the restless curiosity to explore the human nature through aesthetics and clothing,” he explains. Which is why he believes in adding a language, details and smart cuts to the fabric, in turn creating raw and natural silhouettes which have a lot of technicality involved in them.
But how does one bring in technicality to raw, natural silhouettes? He replies, “When there’s ingenuity, authenticity, purity, along with effort, compassion and consideration towards your products and towards your people, everything falls into place.”
The fashion industry in India is mostly women oriented, however, Dubey does believe in breaking the mould. He is passionate about designing men’s clothing, but sustaining in the industry is not what he aims for. “I have simply tried to work on making clothes I could relate to the most — which is myself,” he says adding that, fortunately, his school of thought has been accepted and well received.
Ask him where does men’s fashion stand in India today and he says that it is definitely transforming. “The acceptance level has gone up and belief in sensible and good clothing has made more impact than before,” he says adding that the one thing that inspires him most about fashion is, “The ability that fashion talks on your behalf even when you really don’t want to is simply amazing.”