Anmol Sharma of Dhatu Design Studio decodes utilitarian chic ahead of his LFW GenNext debut
The fashion world has had to reinvent and rethink many of its philosophies over the course of the year. How has the time affected you?
Upon realising that I need to be the part of the solution, the road was unidirectional. I had to quit all that I was doing so far, press the reboot button and prepare myself mentally and physically to take on the challenge. It has been a tough road so far, but it feels the right one.
At Dhātu studio, we started intensive research on sustainable fashion and were amazed to see the various initiatives worldwide. With time, our perception grew, and we started to put together a roadmap towards a conscious world of fashion.
How would you describe your design sensibilities, and what has influenced your style?
Dhātu has a utilitarian design approach from the very beginning. We love to implement useful details in the garments; the silhouettes are thus thoughtfully engineered for ease of use and wearability. each style is carefully designed and produced for longevity at our production facility.
The design inspiration comes from the works of modern architect Le Corbusier, minimal aesthetics, and his purpose-driven designs. As a creative implementation of one’s experiences and learning’s to find the solutions is of utmost importance, bending down is not an option. The solutions are there, and we need to figure them out for the good.
Tell us about your choice of fabrics and why you picked these weaving clusters to engage with?
My first encounter with a cluster was back in NIFT days when we were sent on a cluster program to Maheshwar in Madya Pradesh for 14 days. Here we worked with the weavers sitting in their homes and watched the magnificent creations come to life with every movement of the loom. I was quite intrigued with the whole atmosphere and the simplicity.
Unfortunately, these weavers were not getting back what they deserved, a respectable livelihood to say the least, It was enough for me to understand the scenario and it was then I made-up my mind to work with these humble and creative souls and provide them work in whatever way possible.
I have used Ahimsa silk, handloom denims and pure hemp.
The anti-flip pocket and the anti-split button are already an integral part of current silhouettes. Any new ideas that you are working on and can we expect to see them on the ramp?
Yes, we are all about experimenting, we keep on making and testing our utility-based samples all the time. The team members wear the samples for days and rework on them as per the experience gathered in that sample.
There are many hidden details in the collection and most of the times you will only realize one after wearing the garment. As I said, the pieces are designed for functionality.
To elaborate - as a part of our RSL implementation, we do not use animal product like leather but most of the people need to wear a belt. To counter this issue all our trousers come with a curved waistband that hugs the body and keep the pants in place. Even after that if you need a belt because of one’s anatomy, we have engineered reversible fabric belts. The fabrics are again carefully selected based on their tensile strength to keep the product fully functional.
Give us a sneak peek of what we can expect to see at LFW?
Our collection this time is a showcase of possibilities, the aesthetics are now sharper than ever; idea is to create uncompromised design value using the limited sustainable raw materials. Men would love it due to the utility aspect and the simplicity of the silhouettes. These are very wearable separates and we have tried to cover the various aspects like eveningwear, light occasion wear and even streetwear looks, because you cannot be a sustainable person in the morning and not in the evening. The direction is to provide green clothing for every occasion and every day.
Do you think utilitarian fashion will be the new power dressing for Gen Z?
Utilitarian clothing is not a new concept in fact it had been there since ages. The Mughals used to wear long tunics with sweat absorbent patch near the armpits or even today in North Indians people wear bandis with a hidden pocket for keeping cash.