Ten designers come together for Evoluzione's The Sartorial Modernist to discuss how modern masculinity is viewed through the lens of fashion 

  In a one-of-a-kind interactive panel, The Sartorial Modernist features 10 niche designers who are redefining menswear on the global fashion circuit

Rehna Abdul Kareem Published :  12th May 2019 08:50 AM   |   Published :   |  12th May 2019 08:50 AM
Suket Dhir and Amit Wadhwa

Suket Dhir and Amit Wadhwa

Evoluzione’s Head of Business Development Arnav Malhotra had an idea up his sleeves. To showcase how modern masculinity is viewed through the lens of fashion and culture. Subsequently, the first edition of the Evo Edit: The Sartorial Modernist came about when Arnav decided to curate a list of influential designers who, with their minimalist design aesthetics, will review the notions of how modern masculinity is viewed and explore the idea of modern sartorialism. The Sartorial Modernist will feature collections by niche brands like Amit Wadhwa’s AW, Arjan Dugal, Akshat Bansal’s Bloni, Bro Code, Dhruv Vaish, Dream Shoe Club, Khanijo, Suket Dhir and Unit by Rajat Suri. “Men’s fashion is very repetitive and it hasn’t changed in a very long time,” says the 24-year-old. “Everything is changing, albeit slowly. There’s a long way to go and a lot more to modernise, beyond your bandhgalas, bandinis and such. We wanted to redefine that by calling young, edgy designers who are taking away from the norm.” Arnav, despite not having formal training in fashion has always been around the retail business, being the son of Evoluzione’s founders Tina and Atul Malhotra. “Designers like Anamika Khanna are doing westernised athleisure with Indian prints and garments, and so men have a lot of catching up to do. These young designers are focussing on redefining just menswear, and that’s the kind of focus we are in search of.”  

Motif managed/ Amit Wadhwa

Think Khadi and all that comes to your mind are politicians and Nehru jackets. Delhi-based designer Amit Wadhwa’s label AW,  is putting a twist on it by taking khadi and mul mul and making them more contemporary, with reversible shirts and jackets. “We have worked with lots of handloom fabric in menswear, and I feel the need of the hour for men is comfort,” says Amit. “We have gone beyond the fabric and done bombers, beach pants, resort wear and also used mul, one of the most comfortable fabric to make contemporary menswear.”

Amit Wadhwa's designs

The designer who recently showcased at LFW Spring/Resort 2018 with actor Kartik Aryan as his showstopper will be bringing down two different collections - one that is ethnic with handwoven chanderis and organzas and another that is a resort collection with khadi and mul in it. “We are displaying more than 35 pieces, and are also bringing shoes with different hand embroidered motifs like deer, birds and other animal motifs,” says Amit, who extensively works with different weaving clusters in Madhya Pradesh.

From AM to PM / Arjan Dugal

Layering during summer?  Might seem alien but Delhi-based Arjan Dugal is all about upping the ante with his layering techniques. Describing himself as fun, quirky and refreshing, Arjan opens the conversation comparing his label to a pina colada. “If my brand was a drink, that’s what it would be. It’s got colour, it is fresh and sweet. So what I bring to the table with the The Sartorial Modernist is that this is a brand for everyone,” explains the designer who feels that his purpose is to bridge the gap between too simple and having them experiment with colours and textures.

Arjan Dugal's double pintuck jackets

Arjan has always grown up around beautiful garments, given that both his parents and grandfather were into the garment business. “After doing my studies in the US, I came back to India and there was a flurry of weddings. I couldn’t wrap my head around the fact that everything was so expensive.” Arjan decided to take the humble pintuck technique and decided to give his own edge, by incorporate two pintucks in different colours. “We have also used Japanese origami and embroidery techniques,” he says, adding that he will be bringing his Japanese origami collection and reversible jackets, which is tailored in a way that one side is printed and the other side is plain. “You can transform from formal to festive, AM to PM seamlessly. We are also bringing some printed kurtas and shirts in cotton silks,” he concludes.  

Price: Rs 14,500 onwards - Rs 30,000.

Back to the future/Rajat Suri

If you had to describe designer Rajat Suri’s UNIT in three words it would be futuristic, chic and edgy. This label that creates unique 3-D textured waistcoats are minimal, contemporary and wearable expressions for the sartorial modernist.  “I dropped out from a private university after two unsuccessful attempts at joinng NIFT,” says the Delhi-based designer. “My interest in clothes began at a young age when I took notice of my own school uniform, and customised it with little tweaks and details. “ Rajat’s style aesthetic he says is sharp and avant garde. He began integrating metal into his signature styles in 2010, and his sensibility has evolved over the years.  

Rajat's futuristic silhouettes

“We have a great mix of styles launching at Evoluzione this weekend. Our staple geometric textured waist coats are made in silk, cotton and rayon blends. We also have a new line of  linen viscous Neo-kurtas that have really cool digital screen prints on them,” says the LFW designer who debuted in 2013 . For those looking for a formal spin, watch out for his signature detachable tuxedo that can transform into a dinner jacket, and his monochrome shirts.

Starts at 6,500

Whimsical wonder/ Suket Dhir

Delhi designer Suket Dhir’s clothes couple clever design and a touch of nazakat (flair), he says. It’s a brand where Maharajas adorn poshakhs, and roam around on Segways and Maharanis take selfies, while parrots wine-n-dine and the bulls skate. Its whimsical, its contemporary and it defines the subtlety of Indian culture.  Winner of the 2015-’16 International Woolmark Prize, Suket addresses menswear from a slightly different aspect. “The perpetual questions one asks oneself is does it make me look good, does it make me look cool? What I want to show them is how you make the garment look good. Whoever wears it, the product takes on the persona of the wearer and becomes theirs.” Menswear is associated with something very stiff, standard and overtly dignified whether that’s in the North or the South,  says the Delhi-based designer adding that he takes inspiration from his grandfather and father’s sartorial choices, both who were associated with the fabric business.

Suket Dhir's love for natural fabric

Suket will be bringing down his Spring Summer 19 menswear line which has an amalgam of jamdanis that are handspun and handwoven from West Bengal, and printed linens. While the former uses mul mul that have been translated to formal jackets, blazers and kurtas, the latter are created using a technique called reverse print technique. Here, they print the fabric using the wrong side which lends a more faded washed out look, but without using thousands of gallons of water for washing.

Fashion with a cause/ Bloni

What stands out about Delhi-based designer Akshat Bansal’s Bloni is that they’ve perfected the application of sustainable processes to create econyl, a fabric that’s made from plastic marine waste. However, they keep the brand ethos - luxe and refined - in mind, and thrive to make unconventional and minimal pieces. A year old, Bloni has Akshat Bansal at the helm who likes to believe in modern ethical luxury. After studying at Central Saint Martins in London and NIFT, India he trained as an apprentice on Saville Row and then proceeded to design couture with Tarun Tahiliani.

An interplay of dark and light 

“We initially started by working on Indian textiles and then experimented with different dyeing techniques, and then gradually moved towards sustainable fashion,” explains the designer who offers bespoke couture as well as a pret line, that are all put together in-house at their atelier in Delhi.   Akshat will be displaying their Spring Summer 19 collection which will be a mix of Egyptian Giza cotton handcrafted shirts, tailored kurtas and hand embroidered separates. Watch out for his use of indigenous dyeing techniques like ombre dyeing and tie dying, in his clothes. Expect around 45 pieces that will include everything from occasion wear to formals.  

Starting at 9,500