Amit Aggarwal’s A/W ’19 collection employs fabric made from recycled PET bottles
Inspiration, for designer Amit Aggarwal, lay in sources that are as outlandish, as the raw material he is known to work with. Earlier this year, the Delhi-based designer, whose affinity for recycled polymer is well-known, unveiled his 2019 couture collection Lumen, a sartorial representation of the virtual reality show titled We Live In An Ocean Of Air which he had the opportunity of experiencing at Saatchi Gallery in London. A reflection of how the air we breathe travels through our system to illuminate every corner of our body, the exhibition was reinterpreted as lehengas, blouses and sari gowns crafted from a framework of recycled polymer understructures, tulle, lace and organza. This was Amit’s first bridal couture line.
More recently, he showcased his first luxury pret collection, Flux, at Lakme Fashion Week Winter Festive 2019. Light and its properties were once again the subject of Amit’s fascination and the garments were constructed so as to play and interact with light. “‘Flux’ has two different meanings and they tie-in with what I have created. First, it refers to the amount of light a surface has at any given point and second, it is defined as a state of being fluid. And that’s exactly what the collection is,” explains Amit, whose sculptural, gravity-defying designs are influenced by the mathematical blueprints he would observe his father, an engineer, working on when he was a child. A deeper understanding of fashion, both international and Indian, was gained during his trips to England, Japan and Italy (as part of his course at NIFT Delhi) and his apprenticeship at Tarun Tahiliani. While his creative output is decidedly avant-garde, there is an element of Indian-ness that makes what he has to offer truly unique.
For Flux, Amit turned to his trusted recycled polymer but also employed a unique fabric made from recycled PET bottles. This was a collaboration with R Elan, the textile wing of Reliance Industries Limited dedicated to eco-conscious and technologically advanced fabrics. “It was the first time we were using polyester in our collection. But it was conscious polyester,” says Amit, adding, “Until you know what it is made from, you can’t tell that it’s plastic. The only challenge was achieving my signature sculptural and structured silhouettes as the fabric was soft and fluid, like chiffon.” True to form, the ensembles offered dramatic silhouettes and elicited appreciation and admiration, through geometric shapes, sheer panels, exaggerated sleeves, defined shoulders and flowing, voluminous skirts. Textural variation was achieved through the use of techniques such as plissé, fine draping and three-dimensional embroidery. For men, there were oversized coats and fitted jackets in tones of electric purple and auber-gine besides steel grey and black. “In the last five years, men have become open to experimentation. So there’s a need to make garments that are gender neutral. The use of newer colours for men and oversized silhouettes are ways to cater to that need,” Amit points out.
Playing dress up
This need for individuality and self expression was palpable even in the bridalwear segment and that’s the reason he chose to add it to his repertoire. “Brides and grooms want something new. They are evolving. They feel that there’s no need to hide who they are on their wedding day by dressing up in outfits that are ‘society-prescribed’. This is why I wanted to introduce a new language in this segment that allows wearers to show a bit of themselves on their big day,” he shares.
Having recently reopened his flagship store in New Delhi, Amit currently has a number of new projects in the pipeline, including one with Queer Eye’s Tan France. “He discovered the label through a shoot he did with an Indian fashion magazine in New York. He has been hooked ever since. We’ve been in constant touch and are working on an exciting collaboration, which I can’t talk more about at the moment,” he says, signing off.