Indulge 16th Anniversary Special: From dreamers to designers

A new guard of designers is taking over the realm of fashion and here’s why you need to know these names  

author_img   |   Published :   |  03rd November 2023 01:00 AM


In the realm of fashion, a new wave of talented and innovative designers is steadily emerging, ready to make their indelible mark on the industry. These upcoming fashion luminaries possess a fervent passion for their craft, coupled with an uncompromising dedication to precision and style. Through their distinctive designs, these rising stars forge new paths and challenge traditional notions of fashion, captivating the hearts and wardrobes of discerning fashion enthusiasts. The only way for them is to look forward: in terms of gender identity, craft, representation, and, last but never the least, making utterly thrilling and audacious clothes!  

Who: Suresh Menon is a fashion designer, stylist and makeup artist, all rolled into one. He has won numerous accolades like the Youngest Fashion Designer Award 2016, Rising Fashion Stylist-Chennai, among others. It was during his high school years that he decided to pursue a career in design. He started practising and stitching at home since he couldn’t afford college and learned the nuances of makeup, so that he can make money to buy fabrics to design his dream clothes. Since then, it has been an upward climb for this young talent.

Also read: Surabhi Chopra's latest collection is a celebration of Indian craftsmanship

In his own words: “Through fashion, I aim to express my creativity and individuality. I believe that what we wear can be a form of self-expression, and it allows me to showcase my unique style and personality. Additionally, I want to inspire and empower others to feel confident and comfortable in their own skin. Innovative and elegant best describe my collection. Inspiration can strike at any moment, so I always carry a sketchbook or journal with me to capture ideas. These journals serve as a creative diary, allowing me to look back and draw from my past thoughts and concepts. At the same time, mood boards are an essential part of my design process. I create visual boards that help me organise and refine my concepts, drawing together colour palettes, fabric swatches, images, and textures to create a cohesive vision for each collection.”

“It is my dream to design for Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh. Their unique sense of style and ability to carry off bold, innovative looks align perfectly with my design. Internationally, I find Lady Gaga and Beyonce incredibly inspiring.  In the next 10 years, my aspirations are two-fold. First and foremost, I aim to establish my fashion label and create collections that resonate with people worldwide, making a mark in the fashion industry. Secondly, I’m passionate about sustainability in fashion. Over the next decade, I hope to integrate eco-friendly and ethical practices into my brand.”

Who: Stephin Lalan’s eclectic design aesthetic stems from the plurality of his immersive cultural exposure, spanning Europe, the Middle East and India. Raised in Dubai, his initial brush with design came to the fore as he returned to his homeland. What started as a spark led him to follow his true calling, fashion, the industry where he set off to create a niche for himself. A graduate from Vogue Institute of Fashion Design in Bengaluru, Stephin’s brand is dedicated to dynamic women who seek contemporary pieces with a sporty edge, which can be worn from day to night, fitting perfectly with 
their bustling lifestyle.

Stephin Lalan
Elegance and sophistication:The Blue Dress by Stephin Lalan 

In his own words: “I believe that the most important aspect of fashion is creativity; to be able to think outside the box and come up with innovative designs that are both aesthetically pleasing and functional. I strive to create pieces that not only look great, but also make people feel confident and empowered when they wear them. I take pride in paying attention to detail and making sure every piece I design meets the highest standards of quality. I absolutely love travelling and learning about different cultures, their fashion. So, I pick a little bit of each place I visit and gather tons of research and then begins my process of design, silhouettes, colour palette, etc.  I would love to dress Deepika Padukone and Gal Gadot one day. I envision my brand influencing a new culture of consumption and production, a new aesthetic and redefinition of luxury. I would love to dress everyone in the most comfortable yet chic clothing possible and make it affordable for all.”

Who: Purushu Arie is an Indian fashion designer and blogger, who is known for his gender-neutral clothing brand. His eponymous blog, from where he also takes his design orders, started in 2009 while he was studying at NIFT, Delhi (after topping the entrance exam), is one of the most popular men’s fashion blogs around. For him, the decision to become a designer was evolutionary, shaped by his natural inclination towards creative arts from a young age. His brilliance as a designer was evident even as a young boy as he excelled in various school-level arts and design competitions and spent hours doodling in his school notebooks rather than studying them.

 Purushu Arie
 Upcycled jacket reconstructed from used denim trousers by Purushu Arie

In his own words: “My vision is to ungender, uncaste, and unclass the society using clothing as a medium. India’s high fashion inspirations often trickle up from an elitist gaze that idealises the culture and customs of the royals, nobles, zamindars, and even emulating the West. Fashion in India is gendered, casteist, and elitist. I don’t do fashion, I am anti-fashion. My inspirations trickle down from the vibrant streets of Chennai, the local people, and their sartorial statements. I developed an ungendered approach to apparel design when I studied and researched Thamizh costume history in detail. I study the past, understand the journey to the present, and accordingly manifest my vision for the future. My sartorial creations invoke the nostalgia of our cultural history, destructs the gender, caste, and class-based stigma and discrimination associated with clothing, and envisions an inclusive future with technical upgrades like fully tailored saris, vettis, and lungis with waistband and pockets that offer functional design solutions for the 21st century lifestyle needs. My design process starts from the streets of Chennai — by observing the regular people I meet every day and how they’re dressed for their lifestyle. Be it a sari clad akka selling meat fry at local streets to lungi clad men in vendors compartment of MRTS — the people I encounter everyday are my biggest design influence. I aspire to dress up anyone who wants to ungender, uncaste, and unclass the society — they’re all #PurushuAriePeople.”

Who: Ashwin Thyagarajan is a creative, born and raised in Chennai, now settled in Goa. After working in an IT company for more than two years, he decided to pursue his passion in fashion design. From converting his room into a humble workshop with one sewing machine in 2015 to launching his own store in 2018 with a team of 14 members, his label grew fast and organically. He has dressed many celebrities both in India and internationally. 

Ashwin Thyagarajan
The collection upcycled from scrap Benarasi fabrics 

Also read: In Satya Paul's latest collection the blooms take on a wild, almost psychedelic form

In his own words: “I am just happy to share my creative journey with the world. I create because it brings me joy. I create with a lot of heart and I believe it is bound to have an impact on the audience. My clothes, I believe, are best described as an amalgamation of contemporary silhouettes and traditional sensibility. I’m old school. So, I start with a good old sketch pad and a pencil. Colours go on it later. We sometimes digitise it to see what the outfit will look like. But nothing beats a handmade illustration. Yes, I do keep journals. I have a big trunk full of sketch books. I would love to dress anyone who is doing very good work in their respective fields. I believe in artists supporting each other’s creative journeys. Honestly, I don’t dream of dressing celebrities; I only dream of making clothes. Lots and lots of beautiful clothes. My dream is to work with Indian artisans who have dedicated their lives to ancient handicrafts that are all naturally sustainable. I want to highlight their work in my collections and present them differently than they already have been presented.”