There is no doubt India boasts of some very creative individuals in the fields of art, music, writing, film and fashion. In fashion particularly, the Indian names have just recently started making their presence felt on the global stage. We take a look
When Lady Gaga wore a Tarun Tahiliani sari for her first performance in India, the world took note. When Oprah Winfrey visited India for the first time, she and her god daughter took back many Sabyasachi outfits and she even wore his sari for an important soirée. But there also have been many designers of Indian origin who have in the recent past been picked up by reputed international fashion publications and celebrities as the names to look out for. These names do not specifically sell traditional India in their work, but the Indian creativity does make a surface appearance in their collection.
Veteran designer Naeem Khan is known to have dressed some famous stars on the red carpet and for other important events as well. Celebrities like Beyonce, Eva Longoria, Penelope Cruz, Brooke Shields, Taylor Swift and even Lady Gaga have worn his creations. He launched his eponymous line in 2003 and it was stocked in shops like Bergdorf Goodman, Harrods, Neiman Marcus, and Saks Fifth Avenue. Born in India, Naeem’s first brush with fashion was at the workshops of his family-owned textile companies. Naeem moved to USA as a teenager and combined his learning of Indian hand embroidery and workmanship with the clean, elegant timeless silhouettes of American evening wear which then gave birth to the Naeem Khan brand.
Bibhu is an Orissa born young designer who moved to America to pursue his higher education. Armed with a degree from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York he soon joined the reputed American label J. Mendel as a design director. However, on glancing through Bibhu’s work you may not realise it is has been created by an Indian. He is recognised for his elegant gowns, jackets, trousers and skirts that epitomise a clean American aesthetic. Bibhu’s namesake brand was picked up by the Council of Fashion Designers of America to be its member in 2010. Bibhu’s family is based out of Rourkela in Orissa. However, he proudly states that his design inspirations remain Indian fabrics, its vibrant colours, and the crafts of his native land. At the recently held Lakme Fashion Week in Mumbai, the designer bought his collection from New York to showcase for the first time in India. At the event he even spoke about his interest to connect with Indian artisans for his work. On being asked how his brand reflects Indianness, the designer said, “It is Indian because it carried the DNA of my heritage and roots in many special ways.” That’s enough reason for us to have him on this list.
This list would be incomplete without mentioning Indian designer Manish Arora. You may argue that Manish is a Delhi-based designer and shouldn’t be included in this list. But in my opinion the designer gained recognition when he started showcasing his work as part of London Fashion Week and soon after that at Paris Fashion Week. It was stellar reviews by noted fashion publications such as International Herald Tribune, Women’s Wear Daily, New York Times, Style.com, Vogue, etc which gained the designer popularity in the West.
His global appeal increased even more when pop stars like Katy Perry, M.I.A, Britney Spears chose to wear his creations to important events. Apart from this he has also collaborated with international giants like MAC, Disney, Swarovski, Nespresso and Swatch watches. Needless to say, these associations propelled the brand to the top crust of the fashion list. He was recently hired as the Artistic Director of French label Paco Rabanne, which now puts his work on the fashion map. Never before was an Indian designer hired at such a position for a French fashion house. Manish now juggles his time between Paris and New Delhi. His Indian influence is very obvious be it in the form of the colours he uses or the craftsmanship. Yet his appeal continues to grow internationally as he has successfully been able to combine the best of Indian and international.
Indian-born designer Mawi Keivom (pronounced moe-ee) started her jewellery line ‘Mawi’ from London in 2003. Winner of the new generation award for three seasons by the British Fashion Council helped build her brand very early on. Bold, modern, traditional, tribal and contemporary are some of the words used to describe her design aesthetics. The designer has been able to strike the right note when it comes to making a unique accessories line.
With names likes ‘Punk Rajah’ and ‘Gypsy Rani’ one can make out that her inspiration has Indian roots. Born in Manipur, the designer visits India almost every year to spend her holidays with family in Delhi. Though her visits go unnoticed in the local media, the designer is fast becoming a celebrated contemporary jewellery designer with a fan following that includes names like R&B singer Rihanna, Britain’s ‘first lady’ Samantha Cameron, songstress Florence Welch, and many more.
The writer Is a fashion blogger (www.lovestruckcow.blogspot.com) who attempts to bridge the gap between creator and consumer. As a fashion writer, she hopes to promote Indian fashion among Indians and on a global level too.
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- Indian fashion outside India – Postnoon | Classic Swatch Watches | March 15, 2012