Stylist-turned-designer Priyanka Khanna explains the emergence of functional luxury fashion
Priyanka Khanna’s eponymous luxury sustainable label has been around for about seven years now, but the stylist-turned-designer has been in the industry for more than 15 years. For obvious reasons, people believe her when she advocates for ethical fashion consumption. “We really believe in working at a human pace, so it’s a huge shift from mass production; we are big believers in slow fashion and the reasonability of the clothes; the longevity of one number is what we think about when we are designing,” she tells us. Khanna just had a big blowout sale in the city and has also come up with her new spring/summer lineup, which is distinctly utilitarian.
We caught up with the designer to understand her process better:
Tell us a little about your new collection
I’m a sustainable designer, so circular fashion is something we are all about. I do not use any polyester or art fabrics, we use all pure fabrics. Our prices are also competitive, they are easy separates you can mix and match a lot. For this new line I’ve used organic cottons and khadi, which are summer fabrics; there’s a seasonal context to this obviously, like in winter we can use crepe or silks, textured fabrics like jamdani which we use for jackets or shirts. Again, we have to keep it price-sensitive. You’ll find fusion numbers, chic western apparel.
You have always had a clear mind to cater to functional fashion...
Yes, functional numbers have been a big draw for us. We have to acknowledge that no two people like the same thing, whether they are 20 or 40 so we have to keep up a collection that’s versatile. We do commercial clothing as well, but we also do a lot of modern deconstruction, funky detailing. Anyone can make clothes, but it’s about mixing it well, that’s what makes it functional. It really is about how you style it
How challenging has it been keeping up an ethically conscious luxury brand in Kolkata?
It was extremely challenging when I started. We were a sustainable brand. We used to make really unusual designs, it had a funky vibe to it because our process was also different. Some people did not get that. But now people here are way more conscious about wastage, especially considering how fashion is one of the biggest polluters in the world, so it is crucial for us to work with circular fashion and learn upcycling. Like we have fabric suppliers who come and tell me, “this hasn’t been used’, or ‘this has been discarded.’ We make it a point to take that and do something.
You are a stylist too. Does it help your clientele?
It helps me in a big way, because a lot of designers aren’t stylists. And I was a stylist first then ventured into designing so it makes a huge difference, because it’s never just about making a garment you need to know put together.