What the well-dressed man is wearing

What the well-dressed man is wearing

Never before have India’s fashion designers leaned so heavily on tradition to create such crisp, contemporary garments. Here is a look at some of the unstuffy, highly wearable offerings with an international appeal.

A&T

When you choose an Abraham & Thakore (A&T) garment, you buy into a design sensibility that’s low on gimmicks and high on craft, form and fabric. In short, you get a contemporary, non-conformist piece of clothing that’s carefully-crafted and rooted in India, but at home across the world. Best of all, it never goes out of fashion. Much like this double ikat jacket by A&T. The jacket’s design is inspired by the classic pattern of awning stripes, meticulously translated into the highly skilled technique of double ikat. Designer David Abraham says he’s partial to this piece because it “symbolises the coming together of design and craftsmanship, bestowing the jacket with a timeless elegance.” Plus, it pays homage to the centuries-old tradition of double ikat that involves the meticulous process of dyeing both the warp and weft threads before weaving. What’s not to love about that?

Availability: abrahamandthakore.com

Antar-Agni

Designer Ujjawal Dubey believes every fabric has its own character and nature, which are waiting to be explored and given their own language. He is here just to expedite and simplify the process. This is a man of many parts: he wants his label Antar-Agni to both break away from the commonplace as well as embrace it; just as he wants his creations to be structured as well as flowing. Style is important to this designer much more than fashion. He says he designs for individuals who are comfortable in their skin and who choose clothes and accessories that speak to their personality; not because they’re trendy. This silk-cotton Ray top and pants, both with a relaxed fit, are part of Antar-Agni’s ‘As it is’ collection. As the name implies, the idea is to let the wearer simply be himself. If you’re looking to embrace your uniqueness with confidence, maybe this one’s for you.

Availability: antar-agni.com

Cord

Another label that designs everyday statement pieces that focus as much on function as form is Cord. The brand, created by designers Neha Singh and Pranav Guglani, is deeply inspired by Indian arts and crafts. The duo takes pride in the fact that all their raw material, including their leather, is ethically sourced and their creation process is rooted in slow, conscious fashion. Individuality is of great importance at Cord, and each piece of clothing seeks to shine a spotlight on the personality of the wearer. The brand’s newest collection, ‘The Vinyl Echos’, explores the cyclic nature of life, and fashion. Each piece pays homage to India’s brilliant, traditional craftsmanship even as it taps into modern innovations. The folklore shirt in ochre has floral hand-embroidery details all over and piping on the front. Made of pure linen, it’s meant to go into your wardrobe as an elevated basic. Hope you have space for it.

Availability: www.cordstudio.in

Urvashi Kaur

Urvashi Kaur does not believe in creating seasonal collections. Nor does she endorse conspicuous consumption. Instead, she promotes adaptable, trans-seasonal clothing that stands the test of time and passing fancies. Something aesthetic that’s been created with care and which someone has chosen with love should be worn as many times as possible; not be discarded in a few months, she says. We couldn’t agree more. Especially when we are talking about her easy-peasy, classic designs that are focused on functionality and comfort rather than trends and opulence. Kaur, who celebrated her 15th year in fashion earlier this year, likes to use traditional techniques such as tie-and-dye and block-printing on khadi, kota, linen, mulberry silks, mulmul and organdy. This Comet button-down shirt in ash grey is made of tied-and-dyed cotton silk. The shirt has exaggerated pockets and stitch line details adding texture to the piece. You can wear it with matching shorts or pair it with a contrasting bottom. Just don’t abandon it heartlessly.

Availability: urvashikaur.com

Khanijo

Gaurav Rai Khanijo is another young man who is committed to preserving and honouring Indian craft and craftspeople without getting bogged down by tradition. He uses natural fibres and indigenous hand-woven textiles as well as innovative materials that have benefitted from biomimicry. This red suit is part of his ‘Memoirs of Gulbash’ collection. Khanijo says the muse for the collection was his personal journey and cultural heritage, particularly his grandfather’s migration from Pakistan to India post-Partition. Gulbash was the name of his late uncle, who played a very important role in Khanijo’s life. Appliqué, irregular pleating, digital printing and dori work run across the collection, which uses cotton, linen, khadi and organza. This ensemble in red, crafted in cotton viscose, is inspired by the rose and is layered with irregular pleats. The pants have been given an ombre finish of brown to suggest the changing colour of a rose as it ages.

Availability: khanijo.com

Suket Dhir

Any mention of craft-intensive, India-centric fashion usually conjures up visions of voluminous, deep-hued garments with traditional embroidery and embellishments. Unless you’re talking about Suket Dhir’s playful pieces that marry local craft with minimal silhouettes and less-is-more detailing. Whimsical prints—be they of animals or humans—are

a hallmark of this house, as are traditional textiles, reimagined and reinvented. Consider this ensemble, made up of a ‘Bade Miyan’ kurta and pallazo pants in muga satin silk. Dhir calls the colour Monsoon cloud rainforest. About the print, the designer says: “Our animals are out celebrating spring in the forest.

A hornbill relaxes with a cigar, one blackbuck whistles away while one chews gum and blows bubbles even as a leopard in a helmet gets ready to ride.” Anyone else looking to join the party?

Availability: www.suketdhir.com

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The New Indian Express
www.newindianexpress.com