It’s now pet wear for designers Shivan Bhatia and Narresh Kukreja, otherwise known for their resort wear under the label, Shivan & Narresh. For the National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) graduates, whose brand was the first Indian luxury brand launched at Cannes at ‘Mare di Moda’ in November 2008, the development “was not expected” but is a “welcome surprise”. Their brand so far has been worn by many celebrities including Sonam Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra, Shilpa Shetty and also Beyonce, Oprah Winfrey, and Kim Kardashian.
As their collection launched nationwide on December 1, the designer duo tells indianexpress.com about the inspiration, their love for pets and their Winter Holiday capsule collection.
From swimwear and resort wear to pet wear — how did the transition happen?
We have always been big dog lovers and this saw a new definition when our indie Matisse came into our lives three years ago. Shivan was obsessed with him since the day he arrived so all our R&D started back then, without knowing that we would some day extend it to a full category, adding to the holiday lifestyle of the brand. When Rashi Narang from Heads Up For Tails (HUFT) came to us with the proposition, it was a natural progression. The customised leashes, collars and jackets we designed for Matisse have been extended as our gift to every dog parent.
What made you delve into the pet wear segment? ‘Pets’ include dogs and cats both?
Love for animals! It enables our affection for dogs to translate into a collection of clothing and accessories for dogs and cats alike. The HUFT team is a firm believer of the Adopt Don’t Shop ideology, an initiative we earnestly believe in and propagate ever since the arrival of Mattise into our lives, who my sister rescued from New Delhi railway station. A portion of sales from this line will be shared as proceeds for this cause.
What will your pets wear line include?
With an aim to spread the affection through our design, a selection of embellished printed collars, embellished leashes, printed sweatshirts, bowties, bandanas, mattresses, blankets, jackets, dog beds and cat teepees have been designed for the line. The Leger Star Dog Collar and Leash Set is one of our favourites. The price point starts at INR 699.
What are the prints, trends, styles and materials that you have included in the collection?
It’s our popular Leger print from the Leger Leisure Series, which will be available for pets across the country. Materials utilised are vegan leather (PU), rayon, quilted sheeter among others, all illustrated with the pop of colour that the print offers. The idea is to bring attention to the little seekers of attention, while they are lounging next to you at a pool party or sunbathing with you at a beach wearing their Leger Dog Tie or Leger Bandana.
What elements did you take into consideration while designing for pets? What was most challenging?
There were a lot of elements to be considered, from design to fabric, texture, colour, material and style. When designing, understanding the psyche of a pet parent, and pet alike, was very essential. This is where Heads Up For Tails helped us with their expertise.
The most challenging part was to unlearn our existing knowledge of our regular customer and learn more about her/him as a pet parent. How a pet parent would dress their pooch or kitty and conform to gender normality or design and embellishment trends was one of the major pillars of challenge and education for us.
Do you also plan to design some sort of swimwear — one thing you are associated with — for pets too?
Why not! Based on the response to this collection, we would love to take a deeper dive into swimwear for pets, an ideology that perfectly resonates with our Art of Holidays lifestyle of travel, art and fashion. This range is envisioned for the millennial pet parent and their little pet-fluencer who can twin with the former when strutting on a lazy beach holiday or lounging with their soda-sipping parent.
What are your plans for other collections?
We are soon releasing our Winter Holiday capsule, a first for the brand while delving deeper into the inspiration process for our 10th-year collection. The Winter Wear range will consist of cashmere, fine merino wool, sheeter for quilted puffer jackets, leatherite and foil. In addition to this, chunky knitwear as introduced during Patu Series will observe a good extension for layering and dimension for the upcoming season.
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