Indian fashion brings to mind brightly coloured, intricately embroidered clothing, as well as garments with centuries-old print methods that have been admired around the world. Think of Yves Saint Laurent’s opulent jacquards, Valentino’s gorgeous prints, or Alessandro’s Gucci or Maria Grazia’s Dior’s embroideries – Indian heritage craft has influenced luxury Maisons for decades.
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The juxtaposition of ancient art with current trends has spawned a slew of young Indian designers who are blending contemporary aesthetics for the new age global customer. On a daily basis, more Indian fashion brands are being created and launched in the country, making it an effervescent fashion industry to keep an eye on. Here is a curated list of Indian fashion frontrunners in the industry to look out for.
Nicobar’s aesthetic includes flattened banana leaves cast in brass as wall decor, glassware inspired by the kulhads (cups) of chai (tea) seen at Indian train stations, bamboo wastebaskets, and summery garments that make Indian humidity pleasant. The company focuses on well-designed products that reflect the current Indian way of life, mixing form and function, creativity and culture in a harmonic way. Nicobar is named after a series of islands in the Indian Ocean, and its stunning items and unique designs show a different side of India.
Nicobar’s stores are now all designed to mirror the brand’s aesthetic: minimal, straightforward, and modern. While it is located in Chattarpur, South Delhi, it established its first store in Mumbai’s artsy Kala Ghoda neighbourhood, which houses galleries, cafes, boutiques, and designer stores in renovated heritage buildings. Visit website – https://www.nicobar.com/
Fabindia is an Indian brand that sells furnishings, traditional clothing, personal items, as well as a wide range of consumables and personal care products originating from Indian communities. Its items are stylish and fashionable while remaining traditional and ethnic at the same time. The “Fabindia style” is evident in popular items such as Nehru jackets and kurtas. The company’s strength is that it is known as a brand that sells traditional clothes with a social conscience. Its motto, “Celebrate India,” sends a strong statement about the country. It is a must-visit store for foreign travellers and has acquired popularity among Indian clients. Fabindia was created on the conviction that there was a need for a vehicle to market India’s rich and diverse craft traditions, hence assisting in the provision and maintenance of jobs.
Today, sustainability is echoed as the corporate motto, yet in the 1960s, most Indian enterprises saw profitability and social mission as incompatible. Fabindia, like Amul, went against the tide to build durable commercial connections through creating sustainable livelihoods in India’s rural sector. They empowered the suppliers and allowed for their growth to coincide with the company. Visit website – https://www.fabindia.com/
3. Nappa Dori
Respect for antiquity is the source of inspiration for New Delhi-based premium leather craftsman Nappa Dori. Nappa Dori is one of India’s most well-known contemporary design firms, with a carefully crafted design approach and craftsmanship that preserves artisanal sensitivities and minimalism while blending form and function in a harmonic way. Every handcrafted piece in the company’s accessories or luggage collection is an expression of fine uniqueness, offering a unique mix of design and craftsmanship.
The brand, which is based in Hauz Khas Village, which founder Gautam Sinha describes as a “quaint little design district,” promotes its traditional Indian culture and aesthetic roots through a wide range of handcrafted products. While many American and European designers use Indian influences in their work, Nappa Dori is unique in that its whole team is headquartered in India. The brand offers a diverse range of products, including handcrafted leather fashion accessories and home decor, all of which are inspired by the creators’ Indian ancestry. Many people appreciate Nappa Dori’s success because it has disrupted traditional design mandates and built its own unique creative ideology through its simplicity in thought and execution. Visit website – https://www.nappadori.com/
A streetwear business named ‘Delhiwear,’ based in the capital is finally doing respect to India’s street style by incorporating the ‘street-ness’ into plain, everyday items. Harkrishan Singh Alag and Tarandeep Singh created Delhiwear out of a modest, unofficial initiative in which the two combined handmade hand-painted shirts with “high-intent email marketing.”
Simply hand-painting a shirt with a Hindi/English logo, according to the co-founders of Delhiwear, was not Indian streetwear. Rather than dismissing it as a clumsy attempt to cash in on the streetwear trend, the pair decided to put their own touch on it by experimenting with a kurta! This one seed of creativity sparked their ‘VARDI’ collection, which draws inspiration from both traditional Indian culture and street fashion as we know it.
The classic kurta is given a modern twist in Delhiwear’s ‘VARDI,’ which is founded on Indian sensibilities. VARDI is an unconventional take on standard Indian clothing, using basic colours and an easygoing design that is both comfortable and attractive. After all, who doesn’t have at least one kurta in their closet? Visit website – https://delhiwear.com/
Doodlage is a fashion and lifestyle business that began in 2012 with the simple idea of creating distinctive eco-friendly things with a high level of design. While interning at an export firm, Kriti Tula, the creator of Doodlage, spotted a vast heap of textile waste and had the idea for Doodlage. Her passion for the environment inspired the creation of the brand. She came up with the idea of repurposing the rejected fabrics and putting them to better use. She chose to start upcycling this trash to produce sustainable apparel since she was aware that the fashion industry is a major contributor to textile waste that ends up in landfills.
Doodlage can reprocess waste, recover intrinsic value through recycling, and optimise end-of-life processes toward zero-waste systems using the upcycling principle. Doodlage makes every attempt to reduce waste in the manufacturing process, and any scraps are converted into bags and home furnishings. From the procurement of raw materials through the disposal of clothing by consumers, the company focuses on developing sustainable business methods at every stage of the fashion supply chain. Visit website – https://doodlage.in/
When Ashish Gurnani and Aashray Thatai couldn’t find the ideal clothes to go to work and on a night out, they decided to start their own label, PostFold, in late 2015. Their AM to PM designs is so adaptable that they can go from boardroom to bar with ease. From the office to dinner and everything in between, the contemporary clothing brand effortlessly transitions. The brand demonstrates the right combination of quality and design with minimal effort.
PostFold is a traditional yet understated elegance built on ideas of radical openness, adaptability, and subtle sophistication. The brand unfolds throughout a collection of easy basics for both sexes, including shirts, blouses, polo’s, knit tops, and shrugs, using fitted design techniques produced in premium grade fabric. PostFold is a unique approach to everyday modern fashion, as it tells its narrative by including you in every step of the process, from sourcing to the people that make them for you. Visit website – https://postfold.com/
Anokhi’s origins were from Jaipur, a city founded by enlightened supporters of the arts and crafts. Skilled artisans were invited to relocate here and were guaranteed a steady income. Anokhi follows the Jaipur tradition of maintaining an open and honest relationship with its artisans. It assists people in working in conditions of their choosing and is committed to providing them with long-term employment.
Anokhi’s designs are a mix of modern sensibilities and time-honoured traditions. Its designers search out the bold and striking, the graphic and colourful, and use cutting-edge printing techniques to keep up with a demanding and fast-paced global market while maintaining the spirit of revival.
Anokhi has been producing items in specialised fields including appliqué, embroidery, patchwork, and bead work for many years, and they now make up a considerable part of its product range. Anokhi offers a varied and colourful assortment of products, including Indian and Western-style clothes, household textiles, sarongs, and accessories. Anokhi has been pioneering hand block printing for the export market for the past thirty years. It is continually working to create an atmosphere where traditional textiles have a place and are valued, as well as to establish a symbiotic link between the market and the design product – between talent and tradition. Visit website – https://www.anokhi.com
8. The Pot Plant
The Pot Plant was created with a simple concept in mind, one that has since evolved into a necessity for human life. Resham Karmchandani and Sanya Suri, the founders, set out to make our lives greener, one garment at a time. While the current capitalist system encourages us to spend more and make more garbage, Resham and Sanya’s The Pot Plant allows us to dress well without feeling guilty. They believe in a zero-waste approach and make apparel that isn’t gender-specific, working with textiles like hand-spun khadi and handmade linen. The brand’s idea is based on natural textiles and long-term sustainability.
Karmchandani and Suri met in college in New Delhi, where they were both studying for their BA Hons. They chose to start a brand after graduation since they had similar designs and work sensibilities. They wanted to make their goal of wearing natural and handloom materials a reality. The designers explain the label’s style and ambitions, saying that The Pot Plant wants its consumers to be able to freely express themselves through its garments. Pushing the specified bounds of design is important to the brand strategy. Visit website – https://thepotplant.in/
Jaywalking, the streetwear company founded by designer Jay Jajal, is a force to be reckoned with in the current fashion landscape. Jaywalking’s aesthetic is full of attitude, defiance, and the kind of fluidity that allows for experimentation at a time when sustainable, organic, and minimal are the new catchphrases for labels.
Jaywalking is a well-respected company thanks to the founder and creative director. It’s a brand for those who aren’t afraid to step over the line to make a statement. It is intended for those who value art and culture. architecture, conceptualization, photography, craftsmanship, and working with artisans. Gender-fluid, men’s and women’s ready-to-wear, and custom-made clothing are all covered by the fashion house. Jay Jajal’s signature style is seen across the collections. The Indian brand was one of the first in the country to establish a specialised market.
Deconstruction, experimentation, and the juxtaposition of the founder’s memories and attitude are all part of Jaywalking’s ethos. Jay Jajal places a strong emphasis on the appearance of things. The designs’ aesthetics are influenced by his own paintings. Visit website – https://www.jaywalking.in/
10. Almost Gods
Everything about ALMOST GODS is concentrated on art and applying it to daily notions in order to transform commodities into items of desire, from their name to their collections to their story-telling.
The New Delhi-based independent fashion label, which was founded by Dhruv Khurana in 2018, has gained a lot of attention for its red, oversized draping hoodie. The product philosophy of the brand strives to establish “Indian Futurity.” ALMOST GODS aims to extend the debate about what an Indian brand can do through their products.
Whether it’s stripping jacquard textiles from old couches for use in jackets or obtaining used Indian fabrics and upcycling them into shirts, resurrected materials give worn fabrics a second life.
The moniker ALMOST GODS is derived from the founder’s affiliation with the postmodernist idea of equality. This idea allowed Khurana, a brown boy, to feel that he, like other cultural shapers of colour, could affect the global zeitgeist. Outerwear, T-shirts, shirts, bags, hats, and even shoe laces are all part of each collection. Visit website – https://almostgods.com
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The Indian apparel business is currently thriving, thanks to the exquisite outfits made by the industry’s greatest designers and celebrities wearing them. With the world’s view on encouraging small businesses, now is the moment to rethink our shopping habits to a more thoughtful approach. So, when the time comes—hopefully soon—to start making new shopping lists, think about these homegrown fashion labels that are available online for a new wardrobe.