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Independence Day 2022: Shades of Indian Fashion That Celebrate Freedom of Expression

By: Akshata Shetty

News18.com

Last Updated: August 15, 2022, 15:08 IST

Mumbai, India

Independence Day 2022: Embrace the colours and textiles of India in versatile designs.

Independence Day 2022: Embrace the colours and textiles of India in versatile designs.

The fashion fraternity celebrates the spirit of India and its craftsmanship in their designs.

The Indian fashion industry is a treasure trove of creativity. As we celebrate 75 glorious years of India’s Independence, today, it is a moment of pride to see the fashion fraternity flourish and embrace freedom of expression with compassion.

From breaking gender stereotypes to reviving age-old crafts with contemporary styles, fashion designers such as Sabyasachi, Manish Malhotra, Abu Jani Sandeep Khosla, Sanjay Garg, Anita Dongre, Amit Aggarwal, and Rahul Mishra are among the few fashion designers who have celebrated the diverse shades of India through their craft.

On India’s 75th Independence Day, News18 takes a look at how the fashion fraternity honours India in their designs.

Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh in chikankari ensembles designed by Manish Malhotra.
Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh in chikankari ensembles designed by Manish Malhotra.

REVIVING AND EMPOWERING CRAFTS

Age-old crafts weave creative stories in contemporary silhouettes. The decade-long association of Manish Malhotra and the Mijwan Welfare Society has placed the craft of chikankari in the global context of couture, conscience, and culture.

The aim of the Mijwan Welfare Society, an NGO founded by the Late Kaifi Azmi, led by Shabana Azmi and Namrata Goyal and supported Manish Malhotra, is to empower women and educate the girl child in India’s rural areas while preserving the ancient art form of Chikankari.

“It is evident that strong women foster and bolster other talented women, empowering communities at large. The Mijwan artisans provide further evidence of this spirit of sisterhood, and I love that we are preserving a traditional artform in the process while giving it a character of newness, with constant efforts in evolving, encouraging, and empowering,” says Manish Malhotra.

A model strikes a pose in a chikankari shirt designed by fashion designer duo Abu Jan Sandeep Khosla.
A model strikes a pose in a chikankari shirt designed by fashion designer duo Abu Jan Sandeep Khosla.

Similarly, renowned fashion designer duo Abu Jani Sandeep Khosla, who are celebrating 36 years in the fashion industry and 30 years of a fine romance with chikankari, dedicate their creative journey to their eternal muse – India.

Taking to Instagram, the designer duo posted a heartfelt message, which read: “As we enter our anniversary weekend, we pay a tribute to India, our Eternal Muse and her unparalleled crafts legacy. We celebrate the wealth of creativity and the excellence of our artisans, whose remarkable craftsmanship forms the very core of our design expression. May we always imagine the impossibly beautiful and dedicate ourselves to bringing it to life (sic).”

On reinventing the age-old craft, the duo further wrote: Chikankari embroidery is absolutely unique, a thing of pristine and ethereal beauty. In 1992, we saw in chikankari the potential for unsurpassed refinement and impossible elegance. It set fire to our imaginations, and we decided to make it the zenith of our creative expression. Our 30-year romance with chikan will be a life-long passion and we are proud to say that it is an AJSK Hallmark. Something we have literally put and kept on the high fashion map, reinventing it as couture and bridal wear. (sic).”

BREAKING STEREOTYPES

Ranveer Singh is wearing a structured hand-woven kimono with metallic polymer weaving paired with straight pants designed by Amit Aggarwal.
Ranveer Singh is wearing a structured hand-woven kimono with metallic polymer weaving paired with straight pants designed by Amit Aggarwal.

For Amit Aggarwal clothing has already begun to and will continue to transcend genders. Breaking stereotypes with his design sensibilities, Amit expresses freedom through his gender-neutral designs. “At a time when masculinity can no longer be restrained to jaded, gendered boxes, how can fashion not reflect these changing contours?” expresses Amit Aggarwal, on his Instagram post. From kimonos that experiment with form, tuxedos that redefine resilience to jackets that celebrate grit, each design creates a diverse palette.

Serena Jethmalani, Tiana Taraporvala, Sara Tendulkar, Rhea Kuruvilla and Alaviaa Jaaferi in Anita Dongre.
Serena Jethmalani, Tiana Taraporvala, Sara Tendulkar, Rhea Kuruvilla and Alaviaa Jaaferi in Anita Dongre.

It’s all about freedom to express and being you. Celebrating new India with designs that blend tradition and modern aesthetics, Anita Dongre’s Homage is an ode to individuality. Inspired by traditional art and architecture and created for a muse who defies the pressure to either conform to or break free of societal expectations, the collection is an ode to a rich architectural history that is at once shape-shifting and inclusive.

Janhvi Kapoor in Navbhumi slip dress from Rahul Mishra’s Couture Fall 2022 collection The Tree of Life.
Janhvi Kapoor in Navbhumi slip dress from Rahul Mishra’s Couture Fall 2022 collection The Tree of Life.

HONOURING INDIAN ROOTS

This year, India was at the forefront at many fashion events hosted across the globe. Couturier Rahul Mishra showcased his Fall 2022 collection at Paris Haute Couture Week. The collection The Tree of Life, stemmed from the memories of his grandmother worshipping the banyan tree. “Growing up in India, we witness numerous instances of worshipping trees. This inherent part of our culture manifests in different ways during the harvest festivals spread in regions across our subcontinent. My grandmother would tie a hand spun cotton thread around a banyan tree, not far from our house. The memory of this routine, of the ladies of the house worshiping the tree to bless their families, is a precious one,” says Rahul Mishra.

He further adds, “The great Banyan tree is a god-like presence throughout our lives, witnessing our journey from childhood to adulthood just as it did with generations of our ancestors. It is the visual of this very tree — where numerous mornings of seasons of the earth have passed —that flashed before my eyes each time I sat to sketch this collection.” A contemporary application using a multitude of traditional surface embellishment techniques from the Indian subcontinent, this collection is a manifestation of artistic memory.

Natasha Poonawalla in a custom-made Sabyasachi couture sari and trail.
Natasha Poonawalla in a custom-made Sabyasachi couture sari and trail.

For Sabyasachi, the sari is a truly unique and versatile garment that owns its identity even as it transcends boundaries and geographies. And that’s exactly what he expressed through the iconic sari he created for philanthropist Natasha Poonawalla at MET GALA 2022. Sabyasachi contributed to Natasha’s vision by celebrating Indian craftsmanship with a gold handcrafted printed tulle sari and trail embroidered with silk floss thread and embellished with bevel beads, semi-precious stones, crystals, sequins, and appliquéd printed velvet.

Aditi Rao Hydari in an orange woven organza kurta featuring peacock butas in gold designed by Raw Mango.
Aditi Rao Hydari in an orange woven organza kurta featuring peacock butas in gold designed by Raw Mango.

Be it a textile, a memory or a motif, India lives in it all. In celebration of a new India, don’t forget to cherish the old. The fashion industry has found ways to express their love for freedom and India through their designs. Now, it’s your turn to share it with the world.

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first published:August 15, 2022, 15:08 IST
last updated:August 15, 2022, 15:08 IST