INDIA: AN EMERGING PLAYER IN GLOBAL FASHION

Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Nick Jonas in Sabyasachi at their Mumbai reception

Priyanka Chopra Jonas in a dress designed by Indian fashion designer Sabyasachi Mukherji   (Courtesy: Vogue.com)

Well, 2018 went out with a bang. A number of celebrities tied the knot at the end of the year, but the biggest celebrity wedding of all, according to Us Weekly, was that of Nick Jonas (former Jonas Brother) and Indian actress Priyanka Chopra (former Miss World 2000). Events leading up to the wedding were absolute spectacles and their colorful wedding photos were shared all over social media. The pair said their “I do’s” at the Umaid Bhawan Palace in Jodhpur, Rajasthan, and the events literally sparked a new interest in Indian culture and fashion.

Priyanka Chopra Jonas in Sabyasachi and kalire by Mrinalini Chandra for the wedding (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Priyanka Chopra Jonas in Sabyasachi and kalire by Mrinalini Chandra for the wedding (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas’s combo Western/traditional Punjabi wedding was complete with a chooda and kalire ceremony. Held one after the other on the morning of the wedding day at the bride’s place, beautiful red and white chooda (bangles) and the beautiful golden accessories that hang on them, famously known as kalire, were custom-made by Mrinalini Chandra. For the Christian wedding, Chopra wore a white modest gown created by Ralph Lauren—not a common choice for an Indian bride, but the gown had plenty of exquisite details. According to RL Mag, Ralph Lauren’s official internal publication, “At Priyanka’s request, eight special words and phrases were incorporated into the embroidery pattern of the coat: “Hope” and “Compassion,” a Hindu mantra “Om Namaha Shivay,” and “December 1, 2018,” the date of the ceremony. The placement of the groom’s full name, Nicholas Jerry Jonas, on the front of the coat, was mirrored on the back with the names of her parents. (A piece of lace from Nick’s mother’s own wedding dress was sewn into the pattern) and the word “Family” scrolled down the right sleeve, where Priyanka has a wrist tattoo reading “Daddy’s Lil Girl…” And finally, just over her heart, the word “Love” was stitched in ivory thread.”

Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas in Ralph Lauren on their wedding day in India (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas at their traditional White Wedding ceremony- dress by Ralph Lauren (Courtesy: Vogue.com)

Priyanka Chopra, Nick Jonas and their guests wore plenty of traditional looks created by Indian designers – placing the spotlight on Indian fashion around the world.

Models in Monisha Jaising at Lakme Absolute Grand Finale courtesy of WWD

Models in Monisha Jaising at Lakme Absolute Grand Finale (Courtesy: WWD)

 THE INDIAN FASHION INDUSTRY

The Fashion Design Council of India (FDCI), a not-for-profit organization, is the apex body of fashion design in India. It is represented by over 400 members and was created to promote, nurture and represent the most incredible talents in the country. Its prime objective is to propagate the business of fashion in India in the form of coveted fashion weeks. As part of its initiatives, the FDCI’s calendar of events include the annual prêt week for women and menswear for Autumn/Winter and Spring/Summer, the India Fashion Week and the yearly luxurious offering, the India Couture Week. India Fashion Week is a bi-annual fashion week organized and promoted by the Fashion Design Council of India. It was sponsored by Wills Lifestyle from 2006-2014 before Amazon became and continues to be its sponsor.

Lakmé Fashion Week (LFW) has earned renown as one of India’s most prestigious fashion shows, which takes place twice a year, with the Summer/Resort show in the early months of the year, and the Winter/Festive show in August. Run through a collaborative effort between cosmetic brand Lakmé and IMG Reliance Ltd, which has made a name for itself in fashion, and entertainment marketing and management, the fashion show was conceived to allow Indian fashion to gain a foothold in the global fashion industry.

Over the past few years, the fashion scene in India has finally been receiving global recognition. According to an article in WWD, published on Sept. 3, 2018, India’s Lakmé Fashion Week has been rapidly growing with sponsorship up 40 percent, according to Jaspreet Chandok, vice president and head of fashion at IMG Reliance. “This season is going to be the highest amount of sponsorship the LFW has had, having grown consistently for the last four seasons.” While individual designers are finding sponsors, “the sponsors that are coming directly through fashion week, because of the large platform where multiple conversations can happen,” Chandok observed.

INDIAN DESIGNERS: CLASSICS WITH A TWIST

 Here are a few of the best looks from India’s Lakmé Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2018: 

 THE DENIM SARI 

Diksha Khanna's runway show

Diksha Khanna’s runway show (Courtesy: Sagar Ahuji)

East meets West as the sari enters the 21st century.  This edgy, distressed denim sari was created by Diksha Khanna, an alumni of National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT), Delhi and University of Leeds, UK. Diksha has worked internationally with several design houses before shifting her base to India. She is known for fine needlepoint embroideries on handloom linens, rugged, hand-distressed scrap denim pieces and languid drapes in combination with structured tailoring.

 THE DHOTI SARI

Shivan Narresh's runway show

Shivan & Narresh’s runway show (Courtesy:  Sagar Ahuji)

The traditional dhoti gets a sultry sari makeover by Shivan & Narresh, advocates of the high-flying, party-hopping lifestyle. Shivan Bhatia and Narresh Kukreja were known as the first, and so far the only, beachwear designers in India, when they introduced their innovative Bikini Sarees. Their signature Bikini Sarees are in vogue these days and many actresses like Kareena Kapoor, Maliaka Arora Khan and Bipasha Basu have been seen dazzling in them on the red carpet. Their global clientele includes Nicki Minaj, Dita Von Tesse, Fergie, Padma Lakshmi and Selita Banks. Both designers are alumni of National Institute of Fashion Technology, where they met and combined their creativity to form an invincible team for the designing competitions. Their efforts earned them a scholarship in 2006 after winning Mittelmoda International Beachwear Award in Bali. The Shivan and Narresh 2014 summer collection featured cut out sleek gowns and bold knee length dresses, which were later adorned by actress Lisa Haydon and Priyanka Chopra, making their dresses a cool alternative to conventional cocktail dresses.

NEHRU SLEEVELESS VEST

Akaaro By Gaurav Jai Gupta's runway show

Gaurav Jai Gupta’s runway show for Akaaro (Courtesy: Sagar Ahhuji)

Sustainable fashion designer Gaurav Jai Gupta for Akaaro (meaning the alphabet ‘A’ in sanskrit), reinvents the classic Nehru vest by oversizing and elongating it. He updates the look by substituting a dress over slim pants instead of the traditional Indian kurta over churidar pants. Trained as a fashion and textile designer from Chelsea College of Art and Design London and National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) New Delhi, Gaurav started his company in 2010 and became the first Indian designer to be commissioned by The Woolmark Company to launch the 2014 Cool Wool Menswear collection for Raymonds in India.

 INDIAN EMBROIDERY REIMAGINED

PÉRO's runway show

Aneeth Arora for Péro (Courtesy: Sagar Ahuja)

Aneeth Arora holds a diploma in paper technology and started out making paper clothing. Her company Péro (means ‘to wear’ in Marwari) launched in 2009. She has since won numerous awards, such as the Marie Claire for Eco Fashion in 2010, Young Creative Fashion Entrepreneur in 2011, and Vogue India’s first-ever Fashion Fund Award, which inevitably turned her into quite a hot seller in the Indian fashion industry.

 THE CHINTZ TRENCH

Abraham Thakore's runway show

Abraham & Thakore’s runway show (Courtesy: Sagar Ahuja)

Known as the ‘quiet revolutionaries of Indian fashion,’ David Abraham and Rakesh Thakore (graduates of the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad) along with Kevin Nigli, launched their label, Abraham & Thakore (A&T), in 1992. Their collections cater to the working urban Indian woman who prefers fashion that draws on tradition.

 THE SHIMMERY PANTSUIT  – INDIAN STYLE

Namrata Joshipura's runway show

Namrata Joshipura’s runway show (Courtesy: Sagar Ahuja)

In an era of female empowerment, it’s no surprise that the pantsuit continues its reign. Here Namrata Joshipura’s millennial pink version is the perfect antidote to the LBD (slang for little black dress). Joshipura, a NIFT graduate, started her company in 1996. She fuses contemporary silhouettes with modern interpretations of artisanal embellishments. Internationally her clothes are sold at Bon Marche (Paris), Sauce (Dubai), American Rag (Los Angeles) and Beams (Japan), and she spends her time between New York and New Delhi.

 THE VELVET PUFFER 

Siddartha Tytler's runway show

Siddartha Tytler’s runway show (Courtesy: Sagar Ahija)

Delhi-based Siddartha Tytler graduated from St. Columba’s in 1997 and spent a year at the National Institute of Fashion Technology before moving on to the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT). In 2002, after his return to India, he had his first show at the Hyatt Regency in New Delhi. Luscious velvet is a winter favorite. Here the traditionally regal fabric gets a youthful transformation in Siddartha Tytler’s crimson velvet puffer jacket.

 COLOR-BLOCKING

Kanika Goyal's runway show

Kanika Goyal’s runway show (Courtesy: Sagar Ahuja)

Kanika Goyal has a knack for creating abstract print dresses in clashing hues. Born in Chandigarh, Kanika graduated from the National Institute of Technology and continued her studies at Parsons. She showcased her ground-breaking “Bio:Sonic” collection in 2015 at Lakmé Fashion Week and continues to refine modern Indian fashion on the global stage.

MAKE A STATEMENT

Nitin Bal Chauhan's runway show

Nitin Bal Chauhan’s runway show (Courtesy: Sagar Ahuja)

Nitin Bal Chauhan, known for his label Bhootsavar, aims to bring out the dark side of human nature. As an artist he studies society closely and finds a way to deliver a message through his work. His last runway collection conveyed a strong political message on behalf of the displaced refugees all around the world.

GDP Growth Projection for Asia,  2018 (Source World Bank, 2017)

GDP Growth Projection for Asia, 2018 (Source World Bank, 2017)

As India’s economy continues to grow, the country is becoming a key player in the fashion world. According to BOF: State of Fashion 2019  – an overall benchmark of the industry comprised from data gathered by McKinsey Global Fashion Index (MGFI) – “India is increasingly a focal point for the fashion industry, reflecting a rapidly growing middle-class and increasingly powerful manufacturing sector. These, together with strong economic fundamentals and growing tech-savvy, make India too important for international brands to ignore.”

According to the study, “economic expansion is happening across Asia, but we expect that 2019 will be the year in which India will take center stage. The country is being propelled by strong macroeconomic tailwinds and is predicted to grow 8 percent a year between 2018 and 2022. The Indian middle-class is forecast to expand at 19.4 percent a year over the same period, outpacing China, Mexico and Brazil. As a result, India is set to move from being an increasingly important sourcing hub to being one of the most attractive consumer markets outside the Western world. India’s apparel market will be worth $59.3 billion in 2022, making it the sixth-largest in the world, and comparable to the UK ($65 billion) and Germany ($63.1 billion), according to data from McKinsey’s FashionScope. The aggregate income of the addressable population (individuals with over $9,500 in annual income) is expected to triple between now and 2025. According to Sanjay Kapoor, founder of Genesis Luxury, an Indian luxury retail conglomerate, higher incomes are likely to create a whole new class of consumer: “We are moving on towards the ‘gold collar’ worker. It’s a term that defines the well paid, highly paid professionals, who are happy to look good, happy to feel good and are expanding the consumption of today.” Given these dynamics, it is little surprise that more than 300 international fashion brands are expected to open stores in India in the next two years. “

The Indian market offers great promise. Do you think it will overtake the U.S. and China as the next big global fashion opportunity?

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Antonia Sardone

Antonia Sardone

Antonia Sardone is a new contributor to the University of Fashion. She is also a freelance fashion consultant, stylist and writer. Antonia Sardone graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology with a degree in Advertising Communications, Marketing and Fashion Journalism. She is an industry veteran having worked for WWD for over fifteen years and has strong relationships with designers worldwide. Today, Antonia Sardone continues to write reviews for WWD as well as work with many contemporary designers on a variety of projects from helping to re-launch their websites to writing their brand books. She enjoys raising her children to be creative individuals, as well as styling, writing and traveling.