Environmental, social concerns on Gen Next designers' agenda
Mumbai: Artistes should always articulate the cultural, political, social and environmental elements of the world through their work, according to Gen Next designers.
The first day of the Lakme Fashion Week Summer/Resort 2020 kick-started with four up-and-coming labels by designers Akhil Gupta, Ananya Modi Jain, Chandrima Agnihotri and Mannat Sethi and Harshna Kandhari, presenting their collections.
Akhil said through his brand AKHL, he wants to address the "existential threats" to humanity.
"There is no denying that today the climate crisis has become an existential threat to humanity and designers and entrepreneurs of all ages must respond to it the best way they can.
"I think it is imperative for young designers to understand their product and their creative vision and find their own unique way of being environmentally sustainable. It's crucial to find the right way to contribute as a designer and a brand," the 28-year-old designer told PTI.
Akhil, who worked with fashion industry big-wigs Peter Pilotto, Manish Arora and Amit Aggarwal in Delhi before establishing his label in 2019, presented a collection inspired by tensile structures.
To create his dramatic-yet-wearable range, dominated by the shades of grey, he sourced surplus fishing monofilament yarns from villages in the state and reworked them as embroidery yarns.
Ananya, a Delhi-based designer, said her label All2Defy is inspired by the socially conscious young generation that is not scared to talk about issues like gender equality and body positivity.
"All2Defy is inspired by youth culture - and for me it stems from the lingo that we use and the freedom of speech that we encourage. Each of these inspirations are incorporated through graphics and language in our product," she added.
The 26-year-old designer said urban fashion is not only about trends but also reflects one's persona and opinions.
"Your style - which isn't just the way you put together your clothes - extends to your body language, your persona, your thoughts and ideas, and your opinions, and this is what makes you unique and this uniqueness is what the youth of today aims to achieve."
Chandrima, who launched her eponymous label last year, after working with fashion giants like Abu Jani-Sandeep Khosla and Rohit Bal, said it is a duty of each individual involved in the fashion circuit to contribute in the betterment of the society.
"With the way our industry is affecting the environmental and social norms, it's the duty of each individual involved in the process to contribute in the betterment of the society by being fair and socially responsible. It is necessary for young labels to address the issues," she said.
On the LFW runway, Chandrima celebrated diversity in crafts by blending techniques and fabrics prominent in nomadic communities in India, with international style.
"The motive behind it is to sustain the folklore of India and cultural diversity by incorporating Indian crafts and bringing them to global platforms through fashion," she said.
Delhi-based designer duo Mannat and Harshna believe relevance of design cannot be defined without keeping the dynamics of social, political and environmental impacts in consideration.
"Political volatility impacts minute but crucial details like fabric pricing, social welfare of your workers, etc. With respect to the environment, effects of manufacturing have to be spoken of at large." Mannat said.
"Being at a podium where we get a chance to narrate, address and accredit importance to certain issues that are being brought up by the young Indians, is a great opportunity. Design is one face of the industry. Responsibility is the other," added Harshna.
For the latest collection of their label GRAINE, the designers reused discarded rubber tyres, meticulously hand cut into strips and other shapes and then embellished the garments with Zardozi handwork.
LFW Summer/Resort 2020 runs till February 16.
- By Shubha Dubey