Back in 2009, when Anjana Sharma used to work at Blue Frog in Mumbai, she first noticed Monica Dogra — as she sang and swayed while performing with her band, Shaa’ir and Func — and the effect her musical prowess had on the crowds. But what especially caught Sharma’s eye was the effortless fashionista in Dogra. The singer wore crop tops, worn-out denims, boho skirts and styled it with minimalistic jewellery and funky make-up. “I met Anjana at an award ceremony and she complimented my look, I playfully suggested that one day I would design a line of affordable, andro-fem-boho-rock-grungy clothes, and she said ‘if you’re serious, we need to talk’,” says Dogra.
Five years later, Sharma, now the COO and founder of Stylista.com, has tapped the designer in the singer. Dogra’s maiden collection for the website will be up for sale August 25 onwards. But she is not the only musician who is bringing her creativity to the world of fashion. Nikhil Chinapa, one of the pioneers of electronic dance music (EDM) in the country, too, is set to launch a range of menswear with Koovs.com, called “NIKHILXKOOVS”. And then there is ace guitarist Randolph Correia (Pentagram, Shaa’ir and Func) who has launched “Frequency”, a range of tees for men and women for the online label, Kulture Shop. “It’s definitely a trend that’s picking up in India now. These musicians travel the world and have a global perspective and that automatically becomes a part of their music. Fashion is one another way of seeing that creativity,” says Kunal Anand, Creative Director, Kulture Shop. It was during a casual visit to Correia’s studio in Mumbai in March that the idea of a line of tees came up. The two spent the night drawing sketches and listening to music and the resulting line drawing became the base for the range. “It’s an added advantage that Randolph is from Sir JJ School of Arts. He has an aesthetic sense and pulls in a very different audience,” adds Anand, who has known the guitarist for six years.
Music obviously is the prime inspiration of their collections, and also what makes them interesting. Dogra’s nomadic lifestyle as a touring musician has a huge impact on the line she has created. “My music is my desperate effort to claim my right to individuality. My art is sometimes punk, at times retro, boho and sometimes, it’s rock ‘n’ roll and my style sub-consciously reflects that. Also, I travel a lot and when you step out of your comfort zone, you discover a lot about yourself and also discover new textiles and prints that others use as a medium of expression,” says Dogra, over an email interview from Bucharest. So in her collection, you will find crop tops with “City of Bombay” written on them, ikat print shorts, grungy denims, floral crochet dresses in earthy colours and the use of Kashmiri paisley, reflecting her roots.
“While I have never looked at Monica as a celebrity, her presence obviously opens up a certain kind of audience for us,” says Sharma. Not only does a celebrity’s name give a boost to websites and labels, they also create a new audience. “While I have never looked at Monica as a celebrity, her presence obviously opens up a certain kind of audience for us,” says Sharma.
Chinapa’s popularity has already created quite a buzz for Koovs.com. “He has a massive social media following and they have reacted amazingly to this announcement. He is a well-known name in the EDM scene and that energy reflects in the collection,” says Robert Bready, Creative and Retail Director, Koovs Marketing Consulting Pvt Ltd. “NIKHILXKOOVS” will be launched in September, and from the photos shared, it appears that Chinapa’s personal style plays a huge role in this range.
From making the illustration to finalizing fabric, colours and prints to working on numerous drafts; these musicians have spent the last few months creating these collections that bear their individualistic stamp and name. Whether they will continue to bleed fashion or not depends on the response to these collections but for now, it’s a trend fashion watchers are happy to see.