Innovation and new aesthetics highlight LFW’s GenNext designer collections
Over the last couple of seasons, one has come to expect that terms like sustainable, zero-waste and eco-friendly will dictate fashion week rosters. And though these ideologies are at the core of Lakmé Fashion Week’s 30th batch of Gen Next, this season’s designers choose not be defined as champions of this cause. Determined to create their own trends and break away from stereotypes defining this genre of fashion, each of these designers offers unique insights and narratives on their choice of silhouettes, detailing and aesthetics. We find out more.
Mishé by Bhumika & Minakshi Ahluwalia
Despite having completed her formal education from the bastions of Western fashion — Central Saint Martins in London and Parsons School of Design, New York — designer Bhumika Ahluwalia’s design sensibilities are Eastern in its approach. Introduced to Japanese pattern making as a student, the technique has been integral to Bhumika’s brand, Mishé’s previous collections, Natsu (summer) and Intoku (good done in secret). This season, the Mumbai-based brand will be presenting a series of silhouettes that are influenced by the concept of Shuwa, which translates to sign language in Japanese. “As a brand, our focus has been to narrate a story through our garments. For this collection, the hand movements and gestures created while communicating inspired my garments. I used the alphabets in sign language to make the shapes of the silhouettes,” offers the 26-year-old, who runs the label with her mother Minakshi Ahluwalia. With looks that demand a red carpet or an elegant evening soirée, the collection is dominated by shades of beige, lemon yellow, pink, two-toned blue and two-toned purple.
What we love: The minimal yet one-of-a-kind shapes that are accentuated with cord embroidery.
The Loom Art by Aarushi Kilawat
Aarushi Kilawat is well aware of the stereotypes — of being anti-fit, unstructured and dull — that has plagued sustainable fashion. And her aim, as a designer, has always been to question and break these preconceptions. “Over the years, we have realised that many people find it hard to believe that we work on the ideologies of slow fashion since our colours are bright and silhouettes are experimental. Comfort is the key whether the silhouettes are anti-fit or edgy. A little pinch of happy colours wouldn’t hurt anyone.” It was with this in mind that the Jaipur-based designer envisioned her LFW collection, Between the Lines. Though focused on a singular craft form of ArashiShibori, which creates a unique indigo stripe tie-and-dye pattern, the line breaks the monotony by introducing a varied palette of cool tones like icy blues, white, ivory, teal, pink and peach. The 25-year-old tackles the sustainable fashion’s silhouette cliché by introducing softly tailored garments like cardigan styled shirts, boxy jackets and double-layered dresses in Chanderi, Matka and pure silk.
Collection highlight: The tie and dye process of Arashi Shibori can only be carried out on a fabric length of up to one meter. Between the Lines seamlessly weaves in these dyed panels to create the final garment.
Dhatu Design Studio by Anmol Sharma
Even before the pandemic forced design houses to rethink their aesthetics and create utilitarian silhouettes, Anmol Sharma was ahead of the curve. The NIFT graduate, who set up his band Dhatu Design Studio in 2019, offers a refreshing perspective on sustainability with his Dress to Reform ideology. Based on this tenet, the brand foregoes the use of any textile (including biodegradable viscose and modal) manufactured at an environmental cost and creates garments that are functional and chic. “There are many hidden details in the collection and most of which you will realise once you wear the garment,” says the Gurugram-based designer. Elaborating his design approach, the 34-year-old offers peek at a silhouette. “We strictly do not use animal products like leather, but most people need to wear a belt. To counter this issue, all our trousers come with a curved waistband that hugs the body and keeps the pants in place. And, if you still need one, we have engineered reversible fabric belts.” Look out for a range of separates from light occasionwear to street styles, all made from either Ahimsa silk, hand-loomed denim or hemp.
Urban utility: For easy use and functionality, Dhatu Studio’s panelled shirt comes with an anti-slip pocket for eyewear. Putting this otherwise ornamental element to use, the panel has a concealed vertical slit pocket and loop closure.