Lakme Fashion Week: We talk to the 25th batch of Gen Next designers

Embracing bolder concepts along with innovative techniques and prints, the latest batch of Gen Next designers are determined to kindle conversations about controversial topics

Revival. Sustainability. Heritage. Over the years, Lakmé Fashion Week has been addressing the concerns of India’s fashion scape, one theme at a time. Embracing bolder concepts along with innovative techniques and prints, their latest batch of Gen Next designers are determined to kindle conversations about controversial topics. From the vibrant lip locking motifs in Bobo Calcutta’s clothes or the bhalwa prints employed by Mohammed Mazhar (inspired from the methods of dhobis), each of these collections offers unique insights in terms of both aesthetics as well as our current social settings. Read on. 
Compiled by Arya P Dinesh & Rebecca Vargese

Groomed by kingpins of the industry such as US-based designer Rick Owens, Anvita Sharma, and Asit Barik feels that gender-neutral trends need to move on from the monochrome/minimal trends. The Delhi-based duo’s label Two.Two will be presenting a vibrant line of anti-fit silhouettes inspired by the concept of agender. “Created using fabric waste, the raw thread work and applique embroideries showcased in our collection, is a play on the ideology of ‘perfection in imperfection’,” says the Istituto Marangoni alumni, whose designs feature fabrics like suiting cotton to silk organza.

Bobo Calcutta
An artist turned designer, Bobo Calcutta’s founder/creative director, Ayushman Mitra believes that the body is to be treated like a protest poster. “My work has always been inspired by love, the central motif of an androgynous split face seen locking lips features in most of the garments,” shares the 27-year-old. Kaleidoscopic in nature, Ayushman’s creations are made by digital printing his artworks on surfaces ranging from silk to muslin.“Why hang art on the walls when it can be worn and start conversations about things we need to talk about?” he asks.  

Looms of Ladakh 
Having proved his skill at several prestigious platforms including Wool Runway for Woolmark India, Padma Raj Keshri is finally making his way into LFW. Designed using yak wool and pashmina sourced from the villages of Leh, Padma’s clothes stand apart owing to his innovative knitting and weaving techniques aimed at achieving a uniform count of yarn across the hank. “As for the motifs, I have drawn inspiration from the Gompas (Buddhist monasteries) in the region,” explains the 26-year-old.

Helena Bajaj Larsen
Franco-Indian designer Helena Bajaj Larsen’s collection once again opens up a long-standing debate of apparel as wearable art. “The word composition comes to mind due to the artistic nature of clothing and the idea of the wearer having the power to craft their own look.” Derived from her visual research on khadi fabrics, the line featuring geometric silhouettes deals with silks, wool and cotton canvas that have been subjected to surface techniques like silkscreening, machine knitting, felting, laser, and etching.

Mohammed Mazhar
Mohammed Mazhar’s collection presents the designer work created over periods of extensive engagement with the workers at dhobi ghats. The line, which is hinged on the monochrome of white complemented with hues of black and rust, involves motifs that reflect his deep interest in bringing to light artisans that indirectly contribute to the fashion industry. “The idea for the collection came from the marking seeds/bhalwa that are used as a mark by dhobis to distinguish clothes. We used these marker seeds to develop a series of bhalwa prints.”  Working with cotton, lawn, and malmal fabrics, the 27-year-old from Saharanpur showcases a collection of layered silhouettes.

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