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Reverence and urgency

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Reverence and urgency

New Delhi, Dec 13 (Ajit Weekly Newslife) Celebrated Indian Designer duo Shantanu & Nikhil, renowned for their distinct take on Indian fashion, showcase their latest collection Indra at The United Nations COP28 Sustainable Fashion Summit 2023.

The collection, Indra, a name that resonates with reverence and urgency, is more than just fashion; it’s a heartfelt plea. It’s a tapestry woven with threads of the divine, the earthly, and the fervent appeal for help in the shadow of the climate crisis.

The exclusive fashion event featured talented designer labels from all over the world including Stella McCartney, LVMH, Rami Kadi, Gelareh Designs and Shantanu & Nikhil the only designers from India showcasing at this esteemed event.

Ajit Weekly NewsLife had an in-depth interview with the duo designers. Read excerpt:

Can you tell us about the inspiration behind this collection and how the concept of ‘Indra’ came about?

Shantanu & Nikhil: Indra is a name that resonates with reverence and urgency, and is more than just fashion; it’s a heartfelt plea. We paid homage to the rain god in Indian mythology, and weave a tapestry with threads of the divine, the earthly, unlined with the emotional appeal for help in the shadow of the climate crisis. In a world weighed down by the weight of environmental turmoil, Indra aims to transform the fashion runway into a sacred stage for transcendence.

The detailing and the design language have always been very exclusive and native to the Maison. Can you please elaborate on what the collection looks like?

Shantanu & Nikhil: Our vision with Indra was to showcase the mighty God of Rain and Storm’s splendour and vitality in the face of the climate crisis. The designs portray the legendary drought embodied by an assumed demonic energy, ‘Vritra’ and one can witness the symbolic cracks representing the threat of water scarcity. The earthy colour scheme of the collection captures the severity of the drought while the designs symbolize the effects of this environmental force. What follows is a rapid transformation to Water, as this symbolizes the presence of Lord Indra. The free-flowing drapes and shimmering silk, which is also the signature of Shantanu & Nikhil, mimic the personification of the serene waters and the beauty of the ice caps. The drapes and tassels represent the ebb and flow of life-giving streams and embody the dynamic nature of water. Lastly, we have also tried to capture a glimpse of divine intervention in the form of rain and thunder in the form of metallic elements, to restore the balance of life.

Being the only Indian designer showcasing at the Sustainable Fashion Summit alongside international fashion houses such as LVMH and Stella McCartney is truly an honour. How has the Indian fashion landscape evolved over the years?

Shantanu & Nikhil: We are so thrilled to be showcasing Maison Shantanu & Nikhil’s latest collection ‘Indra’ on a global platform hosted by the United Nations Climate Change Conference COP 28 in Dubai. It is not only taking Indian Couture Fashion to the global forefront but also the rich cultural heritage depicted by the intricate weaves of the Indian artisans.

India’s diverse cultural tapestry provides a unique foundation for sustainable fashion, where age-old techniques and artisanal skills seamlessly merge with contemporary design principles. In a time where climate change is a pressing area of concern, we are glad to be contributing to the cause through our creative endeavours of showcasing Indra.

Please elaborate on the design techniques and the colour palette used in this collection.

Shantanu & Nikhil: The design techniques of Indra are a seamless integration of the signature Shantanu & Nikhil ethos, the intricacy of Indian craftsmanship and a global perspective on contemporary fashion. The colour palette starts earthy, alluding to the severity of the drought and scarcity of water. As the show goes on, there is a rapid transformation to water- and the mighty force of Lord Indra. There are free-flowing silhouettes in shimmering silk, drapes and tassels and intricate metallic elements that create a transcendental aura, all tied together by Shantanu & Nikhil’s craftsmanship.

Sustainability has been a largely discussed topic recently, what is your take on sustainability in Indian fashion?

Shantanu & Nikhil: In the global conversation on sustainable fashion, we hope that we bring a perspective that highlights the symbiotic relationship between cultural heritage and environmental consciousness through our brand Shantanu & Nikhil. By seamlessly integrating India’s rich traditions into the contemporary sustainable fashion narrative, we hope that we are the conversation-starters that strive to redefine luxury as a harmonious blend of timeless elegance, ethical practices, and cultural pride.

Due to sustainable practices coming into play, what is the biggest change that the couture industry has faced in the recent past?

Shantanu & Nikhil: Couture, from its very origins, has always been about creating something timeless. Each piece of apparel has been crafted to transcend time and has rested upon the tenets of mindful consumption. Given that the current climate crisis is one that no one can turn a blind eye to anymore, we feel we need to come together as an industry to channel our efforts and do our bit.

Being an ever-evolving brand and always following the ‘Anti-trend’ path, how do you plan to evolve and appeal more to the younger generation?

Shantanu & Nikhil: The deep-rooted emotion of being ‘Anti-trend’ within our brand gives us a sense of elasticity to continuously reinvent. Being trend-centric is market driven but being anti-trend is about driving the market & that’s our philosophy. We believe that disruption & innovation are the only two pillars that we as a brand stand on- from revolutionising the millennial ceremonial wardrobe and to now carving out a new repertoire- S&N by Shantanu & Nikhil; we continue to put constant effort to stay ahead of ourselves and showcase brand resiliency.

With the steady innovations and the pace at which the fashion industry is moving, every designer must experiment and expand their horizon. If anything at all, it’s a boon that the new generation is willing to break rules and experiment with their style quotient. It helps us as designers in breaking our barriers concerning their latest collections as well as further pushes the glass ceiling. We’re gearing towards a new generation that is unafraid to claim their space and we truly admire their grit. We have been experimenting with new silhouettes- introducing new drapes in menswear and feel the audience was also welcoming towards a brand narrative like this. The lines between the stereotypes of gender are blurring and so is the fashion scenario with regards to that.

Please tell us about your future collections and what is in the pipeline

Shantanu & Nikhil: We have an exciting pipeline. We will be launching the third edition of SNCC, that is Shantanu & Nikhil Cricket Club and also be gearing up for our milestone anniversary next year.

N. Lothungbeni Humtsoe can be contacted at [email protected]

–Ajit Weekly News


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