Looking ahead 2019: Is this a stylecracker year for fashion?
It looks like fresh collaborations and brave breaching of new territory will mark 2019 for the Indian fashion community
The street models
Sometime last August, two friends turned into business partners when model Smita Lasrado teamed up with stylist Nikhil D to launch Feat.Artists, a casting agency with a focus on handpicking models with personality and individual style.
Farzeen, first year student
This year, the duo is excited to introduce #featstreetcasts, a real look at street style showcased via the personal styles of everyday people, with just a pinch of kook.
"It began with Sandeep, a rickshaw driver with a cool '80s mullet and the right amount of nonchalance. What would make the project stand out from other 'street' inspired blogs or Instagram addresses is the bigger plan. We want to create a bank of authentic faces, and when the time is right, we will groom and pitch them for TVCs and print campaigns," says Lasrado.
An ice lollies seller. Pic/Madhur Singh Chauhan
The unusual suspects you'd find on their Instagram page are those of Betty, "our favourite aunty in Bandra", "Shravan, a 28-year-old supply chain manager", and "Farzeen from Sion, a first year student". "We are not looking at it as a catchy story about someone becoming a star. It's about being able to find a star anywhere regardless of what they do for a living," she says.
A sustainability game show
How can we make fashion more sustainable? By asking designers and start-ups pitch their business ideas in the hope of winning an investment and support from Lakmé Fashion Week, UN Environment and R Elan.
This is how the Circular Design Challenge works. Since its launch in November last year, the initiative has already received 168 applicantions supplemented with a proof concept of their sustainable collection, from designers and businesses that are five years old or younger. From these, the organising team will shortlist 10. On January 31, the chosen fewwill be given 10 minutes to pitch their big, bright idea to a panel of seven judges.
"The idea is loosely based on a live game show format, complete with audience engagement. While the winning collection will be showcased on Sustainable Fashion Day in the winter/festive edition of LFW in August, the winner will also win a cash prize of R20 lakh. This programme reaffirms our focus on sustainability that goes beyond showcasing a collection," says Jaspreet Chandok, VP and head of fashion at IMG Reliance.
Sleep and food on Anavila's mind
Blurring the lines between fashion and décor in a calming sort of way is Mumbai designer Anavila Misra, also responsible for making subtlety a trait to look forward to in a saree.
For the last six years, she has quietly been working on a home line which includes pillowcases, bed covers, curtains, upholstery, throws and tablewear, and retailing it at specialised boutiques in London and France apart from ABC Carpet & Home.
"The sarees took too much time, and home took a backseat," she says about the choice to not market the home line in India. "Anavila Home supports a minimalistic aesthetic and uses textured designs and soft tones. The Indian market, however, prefers a bold and bright colour palette. But now, I feel that Indian homes are ready for it," she says. The collection will use natural Indigo dyes and botanical prints, and is scheduled to launch in August this year.
Nimish debuts at Bhaane
Mumbai designer Nimish Shah, the newly appointed creative director of Anand Ahuja's six-year-old label of agenda-setting, off-kilter wearables, is a lot like the people he champions — playfully subversive and fans of geeky androgyny. His vision for Bhaane, the youth-driven streetwear label is a 2.0 edition of what millennials will wear.
"I have an one-tune trumpet aesthetic," Shah laughs, adding, "My designs are not cool but classic, for sure, with an element of finesse." The debut capsule collection will launch in June, and promises to be a bit of the old and new.
Nimish Shah. Pic ourtesy/ Adhiraj Chakrabarti
"We are reinforcing and building on the streetwear subculture, but also rebooting the basic DNA [of the label] by adding a new voice to storytelling and enhancing the retail experience," explains Shah.
Nari picks a different playing field
In case you don't know — we'll assume you don't — athleisure is the new statement chant. "In a turn of the tide, we are now seeing a shift from luxury fashion to more activewear-centric clothing," says designer Narendra Kumar.
So, after designing outfits last year for the Indian team at the 2018 Men's Hockey World Cup in Odisha, Nari plans to launch ALCIS X NARI, a full-on sports-influenced line at the Lakmé Fashion Week in January. He has partnered with ALCIS, a homegrown sportswear brand with a portfolio spread across categories like running, training, yoga and tennis.
Close to 80 per cent of the apparel range, comprising jackets, hoodies, sweatshirts and tracksuit trousers, will be designed from recycled polyester and PET bottles, making it perfect for the social change narrative he is chasing.
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