We aren’t going to lie, we love ourselves some beautiful creations by veterans like Manish Malhotra, Tarun Tahiliani or Abu Jani Sandeep Khosla — but we also believe in keeping our eyes on the newbies who foray into the industry. One of them could very well be the next Sabyasachi, right? As the industry opens its doors to embrace upcoming designers, it’s exciting to see the burst of talent out there. These new entrants aren’t afraid of pushing the envelope, have interesting stories to tell and are quickly creating a signature identity to reckon with. This week, we turn the spotlight on 5 particularly noteworthy ones who have caught our eye.
Frou Frou by Archana Rao
Archana Rao won the 2012-13 Vogue India Fashion Fund award, so naturally, there’s no ignoring her. Launched in 2011, the label thrives on minimalistic, understated and contemporary designs, reminiscent of an era gone by. Be it her western ensembles or Indian renditions, Rao’s efficient creations are tailor-made for the woman who prefers making a statement with subtly in a sea of OTT sartorial choices.
Ikai by Ragini Ahuja
Launched by former graphic designer Ragini Ahuja in 2012, Ikai is all about mixing the new with the unconventional. The idea is to adorn boxy canvas-like silhouettes with edgy illustrations and animated details, a match made in sartorial heaven for the fearless Indian woman. We are crushing on the ease with which she mixes cheeky one-liners and traditional nuances with fuss-free silhouettes. Turn to her for a fun mehndi outfit!
Celebrity patrons: Jacqueline Fernandez
Papa Don’t Preach
Did someone say fierce, edgy and bold Indian wear? Papa Don’t Preach, brainchild of Shubhika Davda, is not for the faint hearted. But if you’re someone who dares to bare and isn’t afraid to turn things up a notch, then this label is for you! We’re talking unexpected cut outs, barely there blouses, slit saris, a kaleidoscope of colors and unabashed use of gold and embellishments.
Celebrity patrons: Kiara Advani
Soup by Sougat Paul
Soup is a label launched by Sougat Paul who earned his design stripes at NIFT Kolkatta. The Mumbai-based brand, which made its Lakme Fashion Week debut in 2010 has carved a niche for itself with its fresh take on conventional Indian wear. Classy with a dash of coy is what they’re all about.
Celebrity patrons: Kareena Kapoor
Delhi-based designer, Ridhi Mehra, has created quite the splash ever since her debut in 2012. Her creations are a juxtaposition of essentially Indian embroidery and detailing with western cuts. Her line is composed of anarkalis with midriff cotouts, Indian jumpsuits, jackets paired with dhoti pants and kurtas as well as versatile crop tops.
Celebrity patrons: Deepika Padukone, Sonam Kapoor, Parineeti Chopra, Kareena Kapoor, Sonakshi Sinha and Huma Qureshi
Which designer strikes a chord with your style sensibilities? Tell us in the comment box!
Praachi Raniwala for Luxemi