Mumbai: Designer Ashish Soni, who will celebrate his silver jubilee in the fashion industry next year, has noticed an increased influx of foreign brands in the country. While he feels it’s creating awareness about global trends amongst Indians, he says Indian designers will always have an edge over them as they understand their consumers better.
Known for his sharply refined and simple sense of aesthetics, Soni has given chic and elegant suit styles for both the genders. He says men in the past few years have understood the importance of dressing well.
“Apart from five or six Indian designers, the foreign brands too helped a lot (in creating awareness about cuts and designs) and business is genuinely affected by that. The foreign brands educate the consumers in terms of advertising, marketing and designs,” Soni told IANS.
He also said the growing awareness has helped many Indian brands too.
“We have similar products which we were trying to sell for years, but consumers say that we don’t even know what it is… So foreign brands are spreading the message (in terms of fabrics and designs) and spreading the awareness of the product.
“This is certainly an exceptional help as far as foreign brands are concerned, as communication has become easier.
“Over the years, we (Indian designers) have noticed that we have an edge over foreign brands. We understand the Indian consumers better, and we are also all about bespoke and customisation… Indians love such services.
“We always have an edge over them (foreign brands) but there is so much learning that filtered down from there and it actually helped,” he added.
Soni launched his label in 1991, followed by his own independent design studio Ikos Designs in 1993. In the same year, he became the first Indian designer to hold a solo showing in Delhi. He was also the first Indian designer to be invited to hold a runway show at Olympus fashion week, New York and, he was one of the first Indian designers to retail through Selfridges.
He had his first exclusive menswear show in 1999. His experimentation with fabrics, infusing them with unusual textures and treatments took him to conceive embroideries for The House of Francois Lasage, Paris. He was then also chosen by the Government of India to present an exclusive collection to commemorate the Millennium celebrations of Khajuraho.
Soni is back at Lakme Fashion Week (LFW) for the ongoing edition where he will showcase a collection in association with haircare and styling brand TRESemmÃ©.
Talking about it, he said: “The overall concept of volume that TRESemmÃ© had for the season went from my beliefs of oversize clothing. Then we discussed that let’s recreate icons in more contemporary manner that women can relate to in today’s day and age.
“So from that, emerged three different key looks which is my interpretation of how I wanted them to look: day look, evening look and red carpet.”
For LFW winter-festive 2016, he has tried to show his love for oversized clothing.
“This trend has a very strong international movement right now and this is something that I have never done for last three or four seasons. Besides that, the interplay of black and white prints in early 1970s, is personally something that is a brand new concept that I am presenting and have never done before,” he said.
While he is set to clock 25 years in the fashion industry, Soni says he would like to start all over again.
“I am thinking of starting again. I am going to pretend that the last 25 years were almost like a long internship perhaps, a PhD and the next 25 or 15 are going to be more defining years of how we own the skills and how we used it,” he told IANS.
(The writer is in Mumbai at the invitation of LFW organisers. Nivedita can be contacted at email@example.com)
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