Of brotherhood, nostalgia and fashion
Apart from delving into elements from military fashion, Sushant Abrol’s label Countrymade is also a sartorial ode to the memories of his late brother
Among the thematic obsessions in fashion, one will find—not just in the menswear department—a strong inclination towards regimental styles. We ask Ghaziabad-based Sushant Abrol (32), founder of the menswear label Countrymade, whether he consciously steers towards incorporating military elements—something that is often written about the brand.
Sushant gives us an insight into his design inspirations, “Yes, we take inspiration from vintage military silhouettes. What we try to do is pick silhouettes from that era; we go back in time to reinvent classics. But, it is just about incorporating the elements and not about making it regimental in any way.” He mentions his disdain in going beyond just being inspired from such clothing or concepts, “Personally, I am not a believer of making military clothing or making civilians look like military generals like a lot of brands do.
We don’t want to [make consumers] wear the medallions; that has to be earned and I don’t appreciate people wearing those.” However, that’s not the only inspiration. In Countrymade’s collections, Sushant also makes it a point to integrate nostalgia and brotherhood. Giving us an insight into the brand’s genesis, Sushant says, “The brand is an ode to my brother [the late Squadron Leader Samir Abrol, who was a trained fighter pilot of the Indian Air Force died in service in February 2019].”
A slice of nostalgia
Post his graduation in fashion design from Northern India Institute of Fashion Technology (NIIFT), Mohali, Sushant worked in the fashion industry—export houses; Janavi Couture where he handled design development for international brands like Chanel, Christian Dior and Ferragamo; and as senior designer at Rohit Bal—for close to a decade. While he planned to start Countrymade in early 2019, the brand officially launched in October 2019 at the FDCI Lotus Make-up India Fashion Week 2019 after winning ‘Young Guns’, an initiative to support emerging designers.
The time after his brother’s death and prior to officially launching his brand, Sushant mentions delving into writing poetry. “I was never a writer and I did not start writing to document my emotions. I had no other outlet, to be honest. When you don’t have any other outlet, you find comfort in something. It was not planned, it just happened.”
The first piece by Sushant titled ‘Beyond The Clouds’ was for his brother and the designer shared it on his “brother’s first birth anniversary after his death; it kind of resonated with me”. Sushant shares, “Before my brother’s death, Countrymade was very colourful and different. But, as a designer, I work on a state of mind. I started picking up every line from the poem and started designing the collection. That’s how we ended up with our first seven or eight pieces. It [the collection] was also called ‘Beyond the Clouds. I applied this to the FDCI event and was selected. I don’t consider [this collection] all of my efforts; I also felt that this was my brother’s blessing, which carried the brand forward because it is not very easy to kind of get that break very easily.”
Adding how writing a poem for his brother prior to it shaping into a collection has now become a ritual of sorts, Sushant concludes, “My design process starts this way now. It is unconventional, but I am enjoying it. I feel that this gives me a lot more personal connection with the brand and even the consumer, who knows the brand, resonates with it. The last song I launched was Homecoming and it became a collection [as part of the FDCI x LFW Emerging Talent Men’s Edit that happened recently]. We are trying to add elements to the brand and, maybe one day, it will come together.”