BOOK: Fashion India

Avoiding unnecessary academic jargon, Fashion India connects the fruits of in-depth academic research with an accessible and engaging style of writing.

In Fashion India I explore the social, cultural and economic currents that form the context for the emergence and explosion of the Indian fashion industry since the 1980s. The work of each profiled designer is explored against this broader backdrop, and their aesthetic approaches, creative vision and working practices discussed. 

The book is divided into six chapters covering thirty-six designers in all, thus allowing for an in-depth exploration of the very diversity of the Indian fashion-scape that runs a gamut from the extravagant bridal couture of J.J.Valaya; the sophisticated minimalism of Abraham and Thakore’s exemplary work with handloom; the internationally renowned sustainable demi-couture by Rahul Mishra; the unapologetic pop-art exuberance of Manish Arora; the designers including Arjun Saluja who create a ‘South-South’ fashion conversation with Japanese traditions of deconstruction and minimalism; to the innovative work being done with the traditional sari in Western traditions of cut and construction by designers such as Gaurav Gupta. 

Each profile includes extracts from my interviews with the designers themselves, providing reflection on a wide range of topics: from how creative inspiration is honed into coherent collections; how designs are adapted to or challenge accepted definitions of Indian fashion; how changing lifestyles and gender roles influence  silhouettes, and global influences whether from Western fashion centres or non-Western fashion traditions of deconstruction and minimalism. Another key thread in the book is how designers must negotiate issues of craft and rural livelihoods, as well as the importance of heritage and the continuity of craft traditions, that nonetheless must be adapted for expanding markets, changing tastes and the growth of luxury brands in the Indian market. If you want to understand the micro-currents in Indian fashion, you’ll find them all here.

The book’s core aim is to once and for all do away with stereotypes of Indian fashion, and also to change perceptions that we should only look to Western fashion centres for the most important and exciting creativity emerging on the global fashion-scape. Including over 350 colour images, Fashion India will provide a strong visual as well as written narrative of Indian fashion’s aesthetic diversity and creative innovation, and provide a coherent in-depth analysis of some of its most established designers as well as its most cutting edge and new talent.