5 labels with Indian roots, creating international buzz

The fashion industry is always looking for the next big thing. The last few years have seen a resurgence in Indian designers, with many labels creating international buzz. From luxury to streetwear, these 5 labels are leading the way in merging Eastern and Western design philosophies.

Indian

Fashion as we know it, is changing. When was the last time you discovered a brand on your Instagram feed? With the advent of social media and growing digital retailers, designers and brands have increased their reach multiple folds. Labels from far and wide are being seen, heard and found from the depths of social media today.

Read More:- Hack Vegan Sneakers Are Shuffling The Footwear

New Indian Generation of Designers

With this arises a new generation of designers that are bridging cultures and blurring borders. Channeling their eternal inspiration—their Indian roots—these emerging designers around the world are creating a cultural dialogue between India and the world. At their core is a narrative of sustainability, gender inclusivity, representation and upliftment. This is a cultural collision we stan. Read on to see how these labels give voice to topics like gender fluidity, sustainability, and inclusivity while exploring their Indian heritage.

Maschiaccio

Maschiaccio, which means tomboy in Italian, aims to “acknowledge and honor our queer ancestry and history of cross-dressing which were erased from our history.” The designer Sana Bhatia, draws her inspiration from stories told to her by her freedom fighter grandmother. Bhatia prefers to call her clothes wearable art and is focused on keeping her designs gender-free/fluid that “utilizes minimal, feminist silhouettes with maximalist, evocative prints that offer a sense of balance to each garment.” Each collection is made in collaboration with various artists, writers, activists, and creators, whose stories are shared on their blog, Masch World.

Szabo Sihag

Favoured by musicians like Jorja Smith and Stefflon Don, Szabo Sihag is a London-based RTW label by designers Meghna Sihag and Krisztain Szobo. Established right before the pandemic hit us, the label resorted to social media and online outlets that provided access to markets worldwide. With her childhood spent in Haryana, designer Meghna Sihag noted that “the way I develop the silhouette and textiles has been influenced by Haryana and Rajasthan’s traditional wear; the volume of ghaghra, draping of pallu, and the textiles.”

The designs are a combination of contemporary silhouettes with surrealist prints and Indian craft-based embroidery. Sihag states she likes to “blur the lines between the two cultures through structured tailoring, contrasting colors, mixing different fabrics and subversion.” The label’s latest collection Beyond Borders, is inspired by the empowering women from the Rabari tribe of Kutch, and is a play on volume, drapes, and embroideries.

Ookioh

Designer Vivek Aggarwal launched Ookioh, a swimwear label, in 2018 with three things in mind, wearability, affordability, and sustainability. The young label has already found a fan following in fashion it-girls like Hailey Bieber and Bella Hadid and global icons like Naomi Osaka and Gabrielle Union. Aggarwal, born and brought up in Rourkela, Odisha, found his inspiration in brands like Esprit and United Colors of Benetton that made an arrival in India in the ‘90s.
Aggarwal hopes to “bring joy to sustainability” and “make goods that are sustainable, fun and affordable to obtain a broader reach and consequently increase consumption of recycled and upcycled materials.” All the fabric used is sourced from an Italian mill and made from 100% regenerated materials.

LOTA India

LOTA is an independent textile studio that primarily upcycles fabric waste from manufacturers in India to give them a second life through techniques like patchwork, quilting, and knitting. Designers Shradha Kochhar and Adhiraj Singh mention that their inspiration stems from “the true street style that encompasses our surroundings in India – one that accounts for maximalism, traditional textiles, oddity, print, and pattern.”

LOTA is an “attempt to take agency and redefine what street style means to us as a South Asian community. One that embraces the color, chaos, and individuality.” With their newest collection made from shredded second-hand clothes that are spun into yarn and then hand knit on flatbed looms in India, the designers boast a strategy of 100% waste-free fabric making.

Gundi Studios

On a mission to “empower desi women through fashion, art, and our supply chain” designer and creative director Natasha Sumant from Brooklyn NY, ideated Gundi Studios that makes small-batch streetwear pieces handmade in India. With her main work in creative media, Sumant took upon designing to “celebrate and elevate outspoken South Asian Women.”

Along with her design endeavors, Sumant also uses her creative platform to collaborate with women who inspire her to create various arts. While growing up in India she noticed how art represented women in their meeker form and a lack of celebration of women who defy patriarchal norms. Making this her inspiration behind her creations, Sumant named the brand Gundi, a word that translates to female gangster or thug.