Denim rules

Designer Suneet Varma talks to us about pushing the boundaries of denim fashion by molding denim and merging it with Indian couture
Denim rules

In a groundbreaking collaboration that weaves together the rugged essence of denim with the luxurious allure of Indian couture, Lee has teamed up with the iconic Suneet Varma, creating a collection that’s as avant-garde as it is deeply rooted in heritage. It draws inspiration from the rich vistas of Indian culture and the unyielding charm of denim, and finds its muse in the effervescent Sara Ali Khan, whose vibrant energy and innate style embody the spirit of this collaboration. Each piece, meticulously designed, stands as a testament to the innovative spirit of Lee and the exquisite elegance of Suneet Varma’s designs, promising to adorn the modern wardrobe with a touch of Indian opulence and the indomitable spirit of denim.

This collection is not just a fusion of fashion; it’s a celebration of the modern Indian woman.

From corsets to bell-bottom jeans and maxi skirts to statement-making dresses, each garment in the Lee X Suneet Varma collection displays sophistication and elegance, offering a unique mix of contemporary style and timeless charm.

Beyond the conventional

“Beyond the challenges inherent in moulding denim and merging it with Indian couture, I viewed it as a tremendous opportunity to do something new,” says Suneet, about the latest collection.

The collection is a tribute to the youth, the doers, and those who make their own rules. It’s a celebration of individuality and the courage to stand out in a world that often follows the herd. It’s almost as if denim has a mind of its own, and in this collection, it’s trying to transform itself with more washes, more tailoring and more embellishment. This untamed couture preserves the classic appeal of denim while incorporating it with high-fashion sensibilities.

“When Lee approached me for a collaboration, I think they were intrigued by my vision for denim — seeing it as more than just a rugged fabric but as a canvas for innovation and elegance. They resonated with what I proposed and the possibilities we could explore together, and that’s how the collaboration came to be,” says the designer.

Evolution of denim

While denim serves as the foundation, the designer has exceeded its traditional boundaries through many stunning techniques and treatments. Each piece exemplifies a pleasant blend of craftsmanship and creativity, from exquisite washes to intricate digital prints, luxurious gold foil embellishments, and unique fabric manipulations. “Our approach unites tradition with modernity, resulting in a collection that’s both timeless and contemporary, appealing to individuals who appreciate the artistry and evolution of denim,” he notes.

From cowboys to catwalks

With denim as the base, Suneet has explored a plethora of fascinating washes and treatments, incorporating mesmerising digital prints, shearing techniques, and various other methods. “Our journey of research and development took us to factories in Bengaluru and beyond, where we delved into pushing the boundaries of denim. Sustainability was a cornerstone of this endeavour, as we collaborated with an environmentally conscious factory outside Bengaluru, boasting a remarkable 98 percent sustainability rating,” he elaborates. Beyond innovation and sustainability, the sense of couture, synonymous with the Suneet Varma brand, is intricately incorporated into this collection, making it accessible and price-sensitive without compromising quality or cultural significance.

The collection is divided into unique themes like India Martini, Art, Deer Mountain Denim, and Rock and Roll, with each piece encapsulating a narrative that speaks to Indian craftsmanship and global appeal, promoting denim to a new domain of haute couture expression — from cowboys to catwalks.

India inspired

About incorporating traditional elements into the modern fabric of denim, he says, “Inspired by India’s diverse culture, we incorporated motifs, patterns, and techniques that mirror our rich heritage. From intricate embroidery to ancient art-inspired designs, each detail was carefully crafted to blend perfectly with denim’s contemporary vibe. By combining tradition with modernity, we’ve created a collection that celebrates our cultural roots while staying relevant to today’s fashion scene.”

Finding the balance

The journey was not without any challenges for the designer. However, “it was an exciting journey nonetheless”. As he recollects, “The key lay in finding the perfect balance between Lee’s heritage of denim craftsmanship and our signature flair for luxury. While incorporating Lee’s classic denim elements, we had to ensure that we kept the intricate detailing and exquisite craftsmanship that defines our creations. It was all about fusing two distinct identities to create something entirely new and captivating, and I believe we’ve achieved just that with this collaboration.”

Suneet believes Sara Ali Khan’s vibrant energy and effortless style have truly infused a sense of freshness and dynamism into the collection. “She brings a certain grace and authenticity that resonates with the collection’s essence, making it relatable and aspirational,” he says.

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The New Indian Express