We chat up Gen Next designers who will be debuting their work at Lakme Fashion Week Winter/ Festive 2017.
Bloni by Akshat Bansal
Having worked with designers like Tarun Tahiliani, Dolly J and Bada Saab, among others, Akshat Bansal is all set to make a debut at Lakme Fashion Week Winter/ Festive 2017 with a collection inspired by the visions in the literal world carried on to another scenery.
“I took some literal inspiration from varying points, observed it and turned it into something original. The collection is inspired from snow-clad mountains, the science of nature in its most monochromatic appearance,” says Bansal.
He has explored age-old techniques like tie and dye and crochet in a new engineered innovative form and engendered a collection that remains androgynous at its core. Fabrics like chanderi combined with Italian crepes lend themselves for a seamless marriage between Indian techniques and fabrics onto Western silhouettes.
“I preferred these techniques as they reflect the accidental asymmetry and abstract form of nature at its best,” he says. Being selected as one of the Gen Next designers this season was nothing less than a dream come true for Bansal. He is not intimidated by the larger-than-life ramp, but takes it as a perfect opportunity for networking and learning from the best in the fashion fraternity.
His collection features easy silhouettes and wide hem loose trousers. “According to me, comfort is the utmost luxury which is now becoming a fashion trend. For women, the trend of flatforms and mule footwear are just perfect for wanting the height without painful toes. I have incorporated similar elements in the collection with a personal touch,” he says.
His role models include Yohji Yamamoto for the balanced asymmetry and avant-garde tailoring, Rei Kawakubo for always being ahead of her time in terms of design, and Rajesh Pratap Singh for his creative pattern making. “To me, design is not only about functionality and creativity, it’s about creating a new vision, and fashion is a perfect platform for it.
Fashion, for me, is the most unconventional perspective and a representation of rhythmic flow of ideas which encourage and nurture the human race to understand and create an innovative self which slowly unfolds and brings out the quirkiness in them,” says Bansal, who hails from Hisar in Haryana, a city that is growing in all facets, ready for experimentation, and always on the lookout for individuality, which has also been the designer’s fashion philosophy.
Untitled Co. by Rinzin Lama & Shenali Sema
Shenali Sema, who belongs to Nagaland is highly influenced by the state’s aesthetic sense, rich craft and textile heritage. Rinzin Lama, who is from Darjeeling, where people lead simple lives, believes that the influence of his hometown reflects in the way he works. Their collection is inspired by impressionist and abstract art, photographs and Japanese print-making techniques. Talking about the fabrics used, Lama says, “Fabric, we believe, is the foundation and our inspiration, upon which we build our design techniques and ideas. We’ve used plissé pleats and embroidery techniques reminiscent of Japanese print-making, creating varied textures and shapes. The garments are in pastel shades with a splash of red.”
While Sema’s fashion philosophy is based on the concept of paradoxes, Lama believes in creating something that intrigues people. They reveal that the opportunity of showcasing their work at this grand fashion event presented itself when they were least expecting it. “The wonderful team at LFW found us on Instagram. We were very close to the deadline and sent in our submission only a day before the closing date for the Gen Next programme,” says Sema.
Integument by Deepak Pathak
Born and raised in Balia, a small city on the ghats of the Ganges, Deepak Pathak draws motivation from the unadulterated state of UP as he believes that magnificence exists in its most organic, flowing natural forms. The inspiration for his collection comes from the reminiscence of Bengali fishermen. The garments are draped, twisted and tucked with immaculate tailoring with clean lines in an uncluttered palette of black and grey.
“The silhouettes are made of sinuous shapes and artworks are doodled out of nostalgia,” says Pathak who has incorporated asymmetrical cuts, layering, reconstructed silhouettes and oversized knits in his collection.
“This range primarily features black infused with tones of grey with metallic accents, majorly gun metal and silver. The collection is inclined more towards rich fabrics. Exceptionally heavy fabrics and textiles lend a particular slant to the sartorial language of the collection.
Hand done surfaces, stitch details and minimal trims add to the beauty of the garments,” describes Pathak, who believes that he is looking forward to having a thrilling experience at the fashion event as it will subject him to a fair amount of exposure to true fashion critics.
“Fashion, to me, is an outlet for my artistic and creative expression. I believe it helps in fostering a bond with people from different strata and backgrounds,” says the designer whose role model in the fashion industry is Japanese designer Yohji Yamamoto, “because he creates something which is real excitement and emotion, and not just a superficial vision.”
Saaksha & Kinni by Saaksha Parekh and Kinnari Kamat
Saaksha Parekh was born and brought up in the UK but hails from a family of professionals in the Indian film industry. Hence, having spent a lot of time on film sets, design and fashion became second nature. And as fate would have it, Saaksha’s sister-in-law Kinnari was born into a textile business family and grew up with a flair for creativity.
Together, they have worked on their collection titled Armourage, which represents the idea of equipping a woman with everything she needs on her journey to self-discovery. “This is the woman who is aware of her strength and treats her clothing as armour. Our inspiration was Tome Gozen — the 12th century warrior who slashed her way to Samurai stardom. Armourage works hard to bring out the dualities that exist in each of us, integrating masculinity and femininity,” says Parekh.
Their collection includes fiery reds, calming greens, dark blues and mustards. “We have used feminine fabrics such as chiffon, chanderi and raw silks and used contrasting, more masculine and edgy embroideries such as metal sheets antique coin work, acid wash sequins and thread work. This is to explore the parallels between masculinity and femininity, a theme we wish to carry out in future collections,” says Kamat. Their signature look features adapting micro pleating into their designs.
The duo believes that their debut on the LFW ramp requires everything to be perfect, with utmost attention to detail and high-quality designs. They believe that fashion is not only a form of expression, but also the psychological armour from where courage, ambition and individuality can be retrieved.
Talking about her inspiration, Parekh says, “Victoria Beckham is a huge inspiration, not only for her own crisp and clean style but also as a renowned fashion designer. She continues to push the envelope by adding feminine touches to bold, masculine silhouettes and for creating luxe-power dressing.”
Anaam by Sumiran Sharma
Representing the unstoppable, unbeatable army of warriors from the infamous district who march headfirst in flowy uniforms, designer Sumiran Sharma’s collection titled Sonagachi incorporates the trends of androgyny and sustainability. “I have used suiting fabric as per my inspiration. It’s conventionally used in uniforms and corporates.
Hence using this fabric in the most unconventional way. Also, it’s a suitable fabric with the kind of winters we have in India. It’s mostly wool blends. I have used buttons and various stitch details in cuffs. I have also used epaulettes on some shoulders as a detailing element,” says Sharma, who is excited and nervous about his show.
His colour palette includes grey, black, brown in checks and lines. “Fashion, to me, means identity. It means a medium to express my feelings without speaking a word. I am from Himachal and my roots have influenced my style a lot. There is a lot of layering in my work. I use a lot of winter fabrics. I am a huge fan of wool as a fabric,” says Sharma who looks up to British designer Vivienne Westwood as his role model. “She was always ahead of her time, including her effort on sustainable fashion and global warming. She is a cult figure now and will always be so,” says Sharma.