All for gen next


All for gen next

Published: Thu 25 Jan 2018, 11:00 PM

Last updated: Sun 28 Jan 2018, 12:19 PM

The first Lakme India Fashion Week was a landmark for anyone who was associated with the industry. Held in August 2000, it was a seven-day extravaganza and I remember feeling as though it was one big party. The shows were packed with the who's who of India. The glam brigade from Mumbai as well as the well-heeled from Hyderabad flew in to find out what the fuss was all about. From Manish Arora's bold and beautiful take on maximalism to Rajesh Pratap Singh's urban and androgynous take on fashion, it seemed like the industry was finally coming together and India was ready to cement its place in international fashion.In 2005, the title sponsor Lakmé and fashion industry's apex body Fashion Design Council of India (FDCI) split. Soon, the Lakme Fashion Week made Mumbai its stomping ground and joined forces with IMG, a global leader in sports and fashion events that's behind the New York Fashion Week and was also the event organiser for the original Lakmé India Fashion Week.
Back then, it had seemed as though fashion had taken two steps back. The split put the industry in a tug of war. Before Indian fashion could gain momentum, it had been divided into camps. Eventually, the industry came to terms with the fact that Lakme Fashion Week (LFW) and the FDCI's Amazon India Fashion Week would have to co-exist.
The next edition of LFW starts at the end of this month. Over the years, it has acquired a reputation for offering a platform to the finest young talent in the business. Some of the recent winners of the prestigious International Woolmark Prize - Rahul Mishra and Ruchika Sachdeva - first showed at the Lakme Gen Next Show. Every season, the LFW opens with a show of first-timers who are mentored by industry experts. Nachiket Barve, Masaba Gupta and Aneeth Arora are other alumni of the Gen Next show. The LFW also dedicates a day to Indian weaves, which has now come to be called Sustainable Fashion Day.
Though I strongly advocate having just one fashion week in India, I am actually looking forward to attending this season of the LFW. Traditional fashion weeks show collections ahead of a season so that potential buyers can place their orders and media can write about the trends for the next season. LFW, on the other hand, showcases styles that are current and hence relevant for that season, making it a fashion week for the modern age. And while some well-known names such as Tarun Tahiliani, Anita Dongre and Rajesh Pratap Singh will be showcasing their collections this time, it's the cool and younger labels - like LoveBirds, Dhruv Kapoor, Urvashi Kaul, Sreejith Jeevan and Verandah - that have piqued my curiosity.

These are labels that have refrained from banking on the 'Big, Fat Indian Wedding' vehicle and make real clothes that you can hope to wear every day. Many of them follow the principle of slow and sustainable fashion while others are about using technology fabrics; either way, they represent modern Indian fashion. Be it the textiles, surface ornamentation or the cuts, these labels marry traditional crafts with contemporary styles. Their clothes do not scream, 'India'! These are the designers who, I believe, will take the India story forward.
A focus on new talent, in some ways, ensures that Indian fashion stays relevant to the next generation of fashion consumers.

By Sujata Assomull

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