The INIFD Gen Next programme has made great fashionable strides over the years. For Lakmé Fashion Week 2020 Digital First Season Fluid Edition, the 30th batch was showcased with three talented designers who presented their creativity by featuring fully sustainable lines. Three winning designers were chosen from the first-ever virtual jury selection process that saw participation from over 200 aspiring applicants.
Given the physical limitations of submitting one’s designs this season, the applicants submitted a video montage of their ensembles to complement their presentation. The applicants were shortlisted and presented their collections digitally to an expert jury.
Dhātu Design Studio by Anmol Sharma, MISHÉ by Bhumika & Minakshi Ahluwalia and THE LOOM ART by Aarushi Kilawat were announced winners.
ANMOL SHARMA – DRESS TO REFORM
Anmol Sharma, a National Institute of Fashion Technology, New Delhi graduate in 2010, launched his label ‘Dhātu Design Studio’ in 2019 after a stint with Wrap Studio, Royal Enfield’s Apparel Department and Brij Designs Export House.
Anmol’s “Dress to Reform” collection put a strong emphasis on the Circular Design Approach that displayed Protective Technical Silhouettes. To match his theme, Anmol’s fabrics revolved around GI (Geographical Indication), non-violent hand-woven Bhagalpur Ahimsa silk, hemp, naturally dyed denim, registered hand-woven pure Pashmina, as well as handwoven Mangalgiri cottons.
Anmol’s all men’s wear collection was a perfect example of responsible sourcing of handlooms, community developments, material products and individuals. The collection showcased eco-friendly textiles that were reformed and took traditional crafts of hand-weaving to a larger audience.
Anmol’s choice of embellishments moved from Phulkari to bullion knots and cross-stitch work but he kept true to his sustainable fashion journey and stayed away from animal leather, synthetic fabrics, digital printing, tree-based fibres that have a high carbon footprint.
The USP of the garments was comfort and longevity, so the beige boiler suit with multiple pockets and drawstring for comfort had strategically placed contrast piping on pockets and calves that made a firm fashion statement.
To match the current global scene hoodies had attached masks, while the intelligently embroidered backs of the boiler suit and jacket declared “Never Give Up” in thread work. Black and navy were the dual tones to balance the beige, while blousons with angular pockets, pin-striped kurta, stand-up collar capes and basic shirts rounded off the look.
BHUMIKA AND MINAKSHI AHLUWALIA – SHUWA
The ‘Mishé’ brand created by the daughter and mother-designing duo, Bhumika and Minakshi Ahluwalia was aimed at the contemporary fashion-forward women.
Bhumika a graduate from the Parsons School of Design is the Creative Head of the label, while Mum; Minakshi has been a fashion follower.
The collection “Shuwa” (meaning sign language in Japanese) was an intriguing look at style. Keeping their creative focus on unfolding a story with garments, the look was inspired by the ways differently-abled people communicate.
The focal point of the collection was the movement of hand gestures and shapes that were cleverly blended for unconventional silhouettes. The fabric base was restricted to banana fabric, orange peel fabric, recycled and hand-woven cotton as well as handwoven cotton jute.
The zero-waste procedures of pattern making were coordinated with Japanese pattern making forms. Cord fabrication along with thread work was the embellishment favoured for the clothes. The pale-yellow skirt and blouse combo with eye-catching cutouts and angular machined cord insets brought forth a fashion-forward look. The strategically placed rear tie up-bow added the necessary pizzazz to the garment.
The pale pink, woven, checked pinafore once again with strategically placed cut-outs was displayed over an onion pink, off-shoulder, peplum waist blouse and panelled box pleated skirt. The wine hued, knee-length tunic was teamed with matching, wide, front pleated trousers but the bright blue, balloon-sleeved cropped blouse and matching palazzos offered a stylish combo.
AARUSHI KILAWAT – BETWEEN THE LINES
Aarushi Kilawat started her label ‘The Loom Art’ in 2017 after graduating from Pearl Academy. Inspired by the current uncertain global scene, Aarushi’s collection “Between the Lines” was a mélange of fabrics, embellishments, and designs. The handcrafted ensembles were in 100 per cent, handwoven, cotton silk, Chanderi and Matka silks.
Adding to the base of these fabrics, Aarushi sprinkled the garments with Soojni and Kantha embroidery. The highlight of the collection was the Arashi Shibori technique, which was seen on the base of all the fabrics. With the process being of a delicate nature, Aarushi ensured that special care was taken by dyeing each panel separately.
The pastel blue, calf-length coat sporting large lapels was teamed with wide-leg, beige pants and a sheer Chanderi grey shirt with a simple collar that offered some great mix and match possibilities.
Keeping the colours to muted grey/blue, the baggy, matka silk jacket with cotton silk lining was given the Arashi Shibori treatment and enhanced with Soojni and Kantha work. The accompanying ruffled, asymmetrical, hemline, front-buttoned midi with Peter Pan collar was comfort wear.
Another great look was the long-sleeved, tiered dress with flat, open, collar and the striped midi with shoulder patches and splashes of Soojni and Kantha embroidery that enhanced the flavour of the collection.