The past many months had thrown major retail industries into a tizzy. The fashion world, both couture and pret, was trying to make sense of a new world order during the COVID-19 pandemic, where people weren’t spending on clothes. Designer Amit Aggarwal used this time to go back to the drawing board, and rethink his process and work. The contemplation resulted in a limited 12-piece capsule collection which the designer showcased at the India Couture Week in its first digital avatar.
The collection was showcased as a five-minute video that was shot underwater and featured only two models. “We would have liked to shoot in the sea, but given the situation we did the best we could. I have made use of the time that the lockdown has forced upon us,” shares the Delhi-based designer, who adds that he used only two models for the entire shoot.
The crisp capsule collection features his distinct sharp silhouettes, and blends textiles with polymers. The effect has always been rather powerful. But to see those clothes seamlessly wading through water, breaks the myth that couture means heavy and gaudy. “People ultimately buy clothes because they want to look pretty, they might even not pay attention to the extreme detailing that has gone into creating a garment. The feeling has to be of feeling beautiful. I want the brides also to feel light and floating,” says Aggarwal.
Aggarwal has been busy in these past few months. While working on this new collection took some time, he has also started retailing online with his website www.amitaggarwal.com. The website brings his quintessential store experience in a virtual way, and he aids it by offering consultations. Couture in India has finally made its way online, but we wonder how the brides, who shape couture in India, will adjust to this new way of shopping for their wedding lehengas and gowns. “Buying the wedding lehengas used to be a group activity. But a digital way of life has made things easier and more accessible for everyone. Earlier a bride would come with members of her family, now she can share her options with whoever she wants to, virtually ” explains Aggarwal, 40. “I understand that people want to touch and feel things, but we have to make do with what we have. Life needs to go on,” he says.
The pandemic has also forced conversations around fast fashion and how designers and brands need to pause and slow down. “ I think this depends on the sensitivity of the individual. I consciously decided on some things. Right now the world needs less, not more. I didn’t want to add things that people might not need. That’s the reason that we kept the showcase video also short,” he says.
Aggarwal also adds that the initial few months of the pandemic were difficult, and that he went through a range of emotions as life changed. “It was unthinkable to adapt to this. I hug almost everyone I know, and now I can’t even hug my parents. But then after some introspection, after some thinking, I calmed down. And that is how this 12-piece capsule collection came about. I have created those mammoth shows, which have 75 looks, where we have colour multiples of everything. But at this moment, this felt right. I was able to concentrate more and create each outfit with extra care,” says Aggarwal.
Though an out and out traditionalist, Aggarwal says that he misses the behind-the-scenes-craziness of a big show. He believes that fashion will have to adapt to this new way of life. “If my mother, who never could have imagined buying tomatoes online can learn her way to online grocery shopping, I am sure we all can also adapt,” he concludes.
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