India's new fashion generation blooms

India’s second generation of fashion designers aren’t afraid to experiment and finally they are starting to make their mark in the international arena…

Since its conception some 15 years ago, the Indian fashion industry has been trying to make a confident stand in the international arena.
The first generation was a little tentative in its trials.

In awe of the established fashion capitals, most designers looked up to their international counterparts for trend directions and inspirations.

Innovations were limited to discovering a new Indian embroidery or fabrication technique.

Most of them refrained from making a strong style statement, which could have ensured a wider client base.


Individual identity was toned down, as most clung to the safety net of indo-western mixed looks.

All this has changed with the second generation of young designers.

Whether it’s Priyadarshini Rao’s minimalism or Sonam Dubbal’s play with the East; Aparna Jagdhari’s use of graphic styling; Anshu Arora Sen’s balancing of colours or Sabyasachi’s intuitional trials, the younger generation in the Indian fashion industry is not afraid to experiment.

At ease with their mixed identity, they are confident, highly talented and good marketers of themselves and their brands.

Individualistic in thought and attitude, they are trying to make a new niche within the Indian as well as the international market.

Priyadarshini Rao’s work revolves around the basic principles of minimalism and wearability. Comfortable silhouettes used in lengths of fabrics mould and flatter the body.

Textures are created within the fabric with the use of unusual yarns or surface treatment. Natural fibres are preferred as they breathe and allow for ageing well.

Embellishments are kept to a minimum.

Her label is best known for its freewheeling spirit and a style that is distinctively suited to the Urban Bohemian.

Anshu Arora Sen uses Indian colours and fabrics, coupled with western silhouettes, which makes her a perfect exporter of Indian design and culture.

An exceptional feature of her work is that her garments are without any fastenings and embellishments—a distinctly individualistic style.

The clothes are about lots of colour carefully balanced, simple, yet interesting shapes, traditional handcrafted details reworked in the contemporary context.

The styling is largely casual and easy to wear; the look is not about an age group but about a mind set, a willingness to have some fun with clothes.

In Aparna Jagdhari’s designs, colour is the very essence of expression, be it clothes or accessories.

The Indian colour stories, fabrics and the embroidery details on western silhouettes create interesting layers.

Bold colours are juxtaposed in a graphic style which can be worn as separates or combined in various ways to suit the attitude of the wearer.

Depending on how one combines, the look can be either very bold or more subdued.

Breathtaking on the ramp, Sabyasachi Mukherjee’s collections are known for the positive reviews they generate from the Indian and international press.

His design philosophy is that “it is intuition that makes a garment work not rules”.

He explains it as the use of personalised imperfection of the human hand to give his designs a distinctive look.

His exclusivity lies in the way he combines inspirations and ideas filtering from the world around with an innate Bengali sense through the use of fabrics, colours and textures.

The essence of Sonam Dubbal’s individualistic statement lies in a unique combination of Indian and oriental styles.

This involves the use of silhouettes that are pan-Asian in nature, inspiration from the Tibetan and Mongolian traditions and combining it with ethnic Indian textiles such as brocades and silk chanderis.

The colours are rich and opulent in contemporary contrasts.

The result is the emergence of a style that not only fits into latest international trends but also retains a creative expression of form and styling.