Like every year, this year too Lakmé Fashion Week is bringing forth one of its most coveted talent discovery programmes—Gen Next. The four selected designers— Akhil Nagpal, Ananya Modi Jain, Chandrima Agnihotri, and duo Mannat Sethi and Harshna Kandhari—will be presenting their creations at the upcoming Summer/Resort ’20 edition to be hosted between February 12 and 16. Handpicked by a jury comprising Amit Aggarwal, Tina Tahiliani and Gen Next mentor Sabina Chopra among other industry experts, the four were chosen from over 300 applications.
Announcing the latest batch of Gen Next designers, Ashwath Swaminathan, Head of Innovations, Lakmé said, “This programme is a testament to the platform’s commitment towards identifying, nurturing and promoting young designers who will define the face of tomorrow’s fashion.” The Gen Next platform has earlier given the fashion world the likes of Kallol Dutta, Rahul Mishra, Ruchika Sachdeva, Nachiket Barve, Masaba Gupta and many more. Jaspreet Chandok, Head—Lifestyle Businesses, IMG Reliance said, “The programme gives some of the most exceptional young talent in the country an opportunity to showcase their work on a large platform like Lakmé Fashion Week.”
GRAINE by Mannat Sethi and Harshna Kandhari
Harshna Kandhari is the intuitive visionary behind GRAINE with a Master’s in Finance, while Mannat Sethi is the impressionable heart of GRAINE with a history of art and a formal degree in design from NIFT. Drawing inspiration from the theme “consciously eclectic”, the brand’s design direction follows reflection, layering, form, distortion and linear play. The range redefines and reuses discarded rubber types, which are then meticulously hand-cut into strips and forms, and embellished with zardozi handwork. “Our sensibility is a culmination of the crafts that we admire, trends that we see, consumer perspective and viability in terms of social responsibility,” they say.
AKHL by Akhil Nagpal
His collection is inspired by dramatic tensile structures, from tensile architecture and art installations to industrial equipment and manmade membranous objects. The range ethically sources surplus fishing monofilament yarns from various fishing villages in Maharashtra, spectrum dyes and repurposes them as embroidery yarns. “My fashion sensibilities are driven by two very important elements—first, the desire to use one-of-a-kind, handcrafted and innovative fabrics to craft my garments. I try and use textiles that are truly our own and absolutely unique. The second important element is moving silhouette exploration forward,” explains the designer. Little wonder that among his inspirations, he counts innovators such as Alexander Mcqueen, John Galliano, Gianni Versace and Christopher Kane.
ALL2DEFY by Ananya Modi Jain
With experience in both American and European fashion, Ananya wants to create a cultural revolution where her products remind consumers of their greater responsibility and role in the world. Inspired by the likes of Sophia Webster, Charlotte Olympia, Blake Mycoskie and Virgil Abloh who have dared to do something different with their products and business mode, she has travelled and experienced international fashion trends and influences. “At the same time, my Indian roots, values and aesthetics always emerged the strongest. That’s why ‘Made in India’ products became my dream. I was inspired to address a socially conscious generation, through a range of eclectic products,” she explains.
CHANDRIMA by Chandrima Agnihotri
Her collection represents a convergence of style, form and function. The designs are an amalgamation of minimalist aesthetics and boundary-pushing proportions and cuts with bold and vibrant prints offering a fresh twist defying taboos. Having worked with a veteran designer like Rohit Bal, she had the opportunity to gain immense knowledge and guidance. “My design aesthetic revolves around a blend of folklore and cultural heritage merged with global design. My debut collection celebrates diversity in craft forms by blending together techniques and fabrics prominent in nomadic communities in India along with international style.”