A Tale of Sustainable Luxury and Indian Aesthetics
At the unveiling of his SS2023 collection called “Pravah”, the young designer described his label as an everyday luxury brand. But, we’d like to believe it goes way beyond just that. The 28-year-old’s latest collection features new-age statement pieces that are reflective of his discerning eye for sustainability and southern India’s timeless architectural marvels. The Kolam (a popular art form, which is often displayed at the entrances of Indian households) is a prominent motif across the collection.
As a winner of INIFD’s GenNext program, Malhotra is all set to showcase his new collection ‘Inconvenience Today for a Better Tomorrow’ which is influenced by solving fabric waste issues at the design stage, with an amped focus on zero-waste pattern-making, at the upcoming LAKMÉ FASHION WEEK IN PARTNERSHIP WITH FDCI
Can you tell us about the inspiration behind your collection, “Inconvenience Today for a Better Tomorrow”?
“Inconvenience today for a better tomorrow” is a phrase commonly used on Chennai Metro construction sites. The philosophy of addressing fabric waste issues at the design stage influenced our SS24 design process, with a specific focus on zero-waste pattern making. The collection incorporates silhouettes and fabrics inspired by the saree, an ancient garment once worn by all genders.
How does the concept of addressing fabric waste manifest in the collection?
The majority of the collection’s silhouettes are based on zero-waste ancient Indian styles, such as the Kalidas Kurta, Lungi, and Nauvari Saree. Zero-waste patterns are crafted by utilizing the entire width of the fabric without cutting any parts during pattern development. These traditional Indian styles have been reimagined with contemporary drapes that are directional and result in unique modern shapes.
Could you elaborate on how you incorporated Kolam art and bridged the gap between tradition and contemporary fashion through it?
We reimagined traditional Kolam prints commonly seen outside homes in Chennai, using a contemporary art style characterized by clean bold lines while preserving the traditional shape and essence. This Kolam motif has become a brand monogram, featured throughout our collection in various forms, including block prints, jacquard, digital prints, and other applications.
How does your collection draw inspiration from the colours of old Madras homes and Memphis architecture? Why these two specific influences?
The inspiration came from a district in Chennai called Tiruvannamalai, which boasts old homes adorned with vibrant colours and geometric patterns. These homes inspired Ettore Sottsass, a prominent architect in the Memphis movement. The interiors and exteriors of these homes are painted in bold shades of blue and pink, believed to attract positive energy and ward off negativity. These colours served as the foundation for our collection. The prints in the collection draw from spiritual practices associated with these homes, including kolam designs at the entrances, Mudras from meditative yoga and dance, and the third eye motifs incorporated into the architectural designs of the homes.
Gender-inclusive fashion is gaining prominence. How did you approach creating a gender-inclusive range within your collection?
Traditional Indian silhouettes were historically worn by individuals of all genders. By offering contemporary reinterpretations of these patterns, we’ve developed silhouettes that complement all genders. Additionally, our garments are available in seven sizes, ensuring inclusivity for people of all body types. Our aim is to create gender-fluid clothing that isn’t simply oversized and ill-fitting but rather, designs that flatter everyone.
Can you take us through your fashion journey and how you’ve evolved as a brand?
The brand was established approximately three years ago with the mission of reinterpreting traditional Indian silhouettes in a contemporary context. However, we ventured into athleisure as the brand launched during the pandemic, aligning with the prevailing demand. We introduced two seasons during that time, primarily focusing on bold narratives conveyed through prints. Post-pandemic, we decided to return to our core philosophy of reinterpreting traditional Indian silhouettes for modern urban settings. We reworked our silhouettes, reformulated the brand’s DNA, and showcased three seasons at Paris Fashion Week. The SS24 collection, “Inconvenience Today for a Better Tomorrow,” marks the brand’s first foray into women’s wear, as previously, the brand primarily focused on menswear and gender-fluid pieces.
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